In its attempts to regain control over employment in Saudi Arabia, the government has announced that dependents of foreign workers can — with conditions — apply for jobs. This is not, Saudi Gazette reports, a temporary move, but will stand even after the current program of removing illegal workers or those with questionable papers ends.
Not all foreign workers are able to bring their spouses to Saudi Arabia, of course. It is only those in the white-collar jobs that have even the possibility of doing so and their own presence is predicated on certain levels of education and professional certifications.
The effort, Al Arabiya TV reports, is intended to reduce the cost of finding employees. Those already in the country would not incur recruitment fees, travel, or visa expenses. The move runs in parallel with the Nitiqat program to put Saudis into jobs. Dependents will not be permitted to compete with Saudis for jobs.
Saudi Arabia’s labor ministry has issues new regulations allowing dependents of foreign workers to seek jobs according to conditions, Deputy Minister of Labor Mufarrej bin Saad al-Haqbani said on Wednesday.
Among those conditions, a dependent of a foreign worker has to be 18 years old, has lived in the kingdom for at least one year, and obtained the sponsorship from a firm that seeks to employ him or her.
Firms seeking to employ dependent of foreign workers should obtain the approval of the dependent’s main sponsor and should be eligible according to a regulation known as the Nitaqat’ Saudization fulfillment program.
The regulation requires that the dependent should be replacing a foreign worker and not a Saudi national.
If a dependent leaves his or her employment and goes back to being a dependent of a foreign worker, he or she must remain in that status for at least one year before seeking another job.
Saudi Arabia is seeking to regulate the market of migrant employment to create more jobs for its growing young population.