Kingdom cracks down on illegal workers

Round ups fall under the Nitaqat programme, authorities say

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RELATED ARTICLES: Saudisation measures criticised by contractors | KSA firms claim Saudisation hitting profits | Indian Embassy in KSA: 1 million workers legalise status Saudi authorities rounded up thousands of illegal foreign workers at the start of a nationwide crackdown ultimately aimed at creating more jobs for locals, a Reuters report said. Thousands of workers left the country following a grace period , during which expatriates were asked to fix their legal status to avoid leaving the Kingdom or facing jail. These exercises – broadly falling under the country’s Nitaqat programme – are efforts on behalf of the government to increase employment for locals in the country, which currently records an official Saudi unemployment rate of 12%, a number that nevertheless excludes a large number of citizens who say they are not seeking a job. Police carried out raids on businesses, markets and residential areas to catch expatriates whose visas are invalid because they are not working for the company that ‘sponsored’ their entry into the kingdom, added the report. Raising private sector employment in a country where most Saudis are in government jobs and where businesses employ more foreigners than locals is a major challenge for the kingdom.


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