Dubai: Saudi Arabia on Monday clarified that
there was no blanket plan to revoke work permits for
expatriates who have stayed in the kingdom for six years.
In a statement, the Labour Ministry clarified press
reports that quoted Labour Minister Adel Fakieh as saying that
the government would not renew work permits for foreigners who
have held jobs for six years in the kingdom.
"What Labour Minister Adel Fakieh meant by his
statement was that the measure would be applied on those
foreigners who work for companies in the yellow category,"
said Hattab Al-Anazi, official spokesman of the ministry.
Companies in the yellow category that did not fulfil
Saudisation conditions, should correct their status in order
to get the permits of their workers renewed, he said.
However, the spokesman emphasized that permits of
those foreign workers in red category companies would not be
renewed at all, irrespective of the years they have spent in
"The new Nitaqat (limits) system allows renewal of
iqamas (permits) without any condition for expatriates who
work in companies in the green and excellent category,"
Al-Anazi told the Saudi Press Agency.
He said the new measure would not apply on house
servants as their iqamas would be renewed without considering
how many years they stayed in the country. "They are not at
all linked with the Nitaqat system," he said.
On Sunday, Fakieh had said companies not employing
enough Saudis may find themselves without foreign workers and
expatriate employees may be limited to six years of employment
in the kingdom.
Fekyeh did not say when the decision would be
implemented. Fekyeh had said 90 per cent of the private sector
work force was made up of foreign workers.
The reforms, the minister said, will aim to boost
employment opportunities for Saudis and increasing competitive
edge among them.
The number of Indian workers in Saudi Arabia is likely
to exceed two million by year`s end.