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Expatriates living in Saudi Arabia could soon be forced to retire at 60, just as nationals in the country have to, under new controversial plans.
The government is hoping to reduce the amount of foreign labour in the gulf state as 90 per cent of the private sector workforce comes from abroad, reports The Telegraph.
This latest proposal is just one in a number of measures that have been put forward, with companies employing more expats than foreigners facing fines as of last November.
Up until now there has been no upper age limit on the age that foreign workers can remain employed until, but this has seen older Saudi employees sidelined further.
Dan Henderson, a British expat working in the oil industry, told the news provider: "While this would simply bring expats into line with locals it’s still a bit of a blow for those foreigners hoping to earn big tax-free salaries well into their 60s.
"It’s also part of a worrying trend of making life harder for expats here and across the Middle East."
The opinion from Saudis is mixed as some think that expats and nationals should have the same retirement cap age, while others believe that it should be even lower for foreigners.
Another stance which is taken by some is that a lower age limit on expat workers coming to the country should be introduced.
Those in human resources in the state have suggested that a certain level of flexibility should be granted, so that older employees with valuable skills have a few extra years in order to pass their knowledge onto the next generation of workers.
One human resources consultant summed up the issues facing the state: "The Saudi government has a difficult balancing act, as it needs to keep locals happy especially with a high youth unemployment rate.
"But it also relies heavily on foreign talent and will not want to scare them away to somewhere like Dubai for example."
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