Showing posts with label Saudi's new labor laws. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Saudi's new labor laws. Show all posts

Thursday, April 4, 2013


In Kerala the vernacular Newspapers were full of news of returning expatriates from Saudi Arabia in the wake of a new law which insists on appointing ten percent employees from Saudi citizens by
companies  there (Nitaquat) especially in the general category of works. The Saudi Government has put a deadline on September 7 to achieve the Nitaquat and now the law enforcement officials are engaged in finding illegal immigrant workers who are not under right sponsorship companies and sending them back home. The Saudi Government calculates that there will be enough vacant posts for Saudi citizens once the illegal workers are sent home.

 Of the 22 Lakhs Keralites working in Gulf countries about 6 Lakh are working in Saudi Arabia. The remittance from such expatriates is the back bone of Kerala’s economy which was about 55000 Crore in 2011. No wonder Newspapers were clamouring for extending help to the expatriates; the new development affects hundreds of thousands of families in Kerala. The Government too was quick to grasp the importance of the issue and the Ministers assured that everything would be done to remedy the issue.

But remedying the issues is not very easy. In the first place it is a policy decision taken by the Saudi Government on which other nations have very little say. The unemployment rate is hovering around
10% in the Saudi Arabia. The very fact that there is unemployment in Arabian countries itself is actually a good news for that country, because it means the people are getting educated and turning to modern-day work-culture other than remaining lazy with the oil wealth.

The schools in Saudi were based on religious texts in Arabic and it did not help the candidates to work in modern day jobs. Besides, the Companies preferred Asian workers to local Arabs as Asian workers can be put to work long hours without a murmur for low Salaries while it would not be possible when locals are engaged. However  when Saudi nationals come in to private sector jobs, exploitation of workers by the companies might hopefully end and reasonable pay scales and working conditions can be expected to emerge.

Now a change is taking place in all over the Gulf countries as a result of modern day communication and internet. Many young people are getting excellent education from good Universities and are anxious to be in the job once the education is completed  irrespective of family wealth. It is a good development as far as those countries are concerned. Yet it may take time for the Saudi nationals to be in league with foreign workers in speed and efficiency.

 In Kerala when all kinds of people went to Arabian countries in search of jobs and started sending money back home, shortage of work force for skilled and unskilled works began feeling. In addition to  shortage of workers, the Gulf money also played a part in making people lazy to do work.
 However new workers from States like Bihar, Tamil Nadu, Orissa and West Bengal began coming to the State to fill the void.  Now there are a considerable number of workers from other States who do all sorts of jobs and send money to their respective states almost to the tune of 35000 Crores.( Remember, the expatriate remittance to kerala is only 55000 Crores, if the trend continues both remittances may equalise one day )  The non-Kerala workers are concentrated in cities in the construction sites and the interior Kerala villages still face shortage of workers in the agricultural sector and in other unskilled areas.

 The shortage of workers resulted in steep increase of wages to absurd heights making the agriculture not any more profitable and people started keeping the land empty of any cultivation. Naturally there was fall in production in agriculture resulting price increase and the chain of reaction continues in many ways, even in to psychological spheres due to separation of near and dear.

Recently a recruiting agency selected 50 candidates for working in U A E. When they were told the wages they might get, most of the candidates withdrew saying that they would get more money in Kerala itself for the work.

 Perhaps the present crisis might blow over without much harm  but the writing on the wall should be seen by all, that Kerala should develop its own resources than depending on other nations. More stress should be given to developmental projects than to ideological considerations. The communism and socialism are good only at discussion tables, they have not created jobs in any country.

The Government is pumping taxpayers  money into loss making public sector companies on ideological compulsions while the ideologists obstruct developmental projects in the state citing one reason or other. The trend is not conducive to creating jobs. Kerala needs a change of attitude towards developmental strategies before it tries to change the mind of other nations. Unfortunately for Keralites no hope is in sight.

 The latest news on Saudi labor front is that the Indian Ministers have requested an audience with the concerned Saudi Ministers to discuss Nitaquat issues and they are waiting for reply. On this note the Vernacular Newspapers have fallen silent now.

Latest: The King of Saudi Arabia, presumably on requests from India and other countries, has suspended Nitaquat  actions for three months. It is a great boon to the workers without proper sponsors as they get time to legitimise sponsorship issues.