Foreign spouses in Saudi Arabia will keep their jobs in Saudisation programmes intended to gradually dispose of expatriate labour and tackle a festering unemployment problem, a newspaper reported on Wednesday.
The ministry of civil service has just approved a request by the ministry of labour to exempt foreign spouses and their children from any measures targeting expatriate workers in the Gulf Kingdom’s ongoing job nationalization programmes, the London-based Saudi daily Alhayat said.
“Under the new rules, foreign husbands of Saudi women and their children and foreign wives of Saudi men and their children will not be sacked under any circumstances within the job Saudization programmes,” the Arabic language daily said, quoting authorized sources at the ministry of labour.
“In case, a qualified Saudi is named for a job to replace a foreign spouse of a national, the ministry will find another job for that spouse at the same or other department provided this will not affect the spouse’s salary…the measures are designed to ensure the stability of those spouses’ families.”
The paper said foreign spouses benefiting from such measures must have children and remain either with their wives or husbands, adding that separated foreign husbands or wives are not covered by the new rules.
Saudi Arabia, the largest Arab economy, has been locked in a long-term job Saudization plan to reduce dependence on foreigners and find work for its fast growing national population. Government figures showed more than 500,000 Saudis are unemployed in the Kingdom, nearly 10 per cent of the work force.