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It seems that Saudi Arabia is constantly in the expat news as of late. Since May 2017, we have kept you abreast of the latest happenings in the Gulf State. Whilst the year started in a promising fashion for the country with the introduction of a green card for expatriates and the start of what seemed like a promising initiative in Saudi Vision 2030, it has been downhill from there.
With the abolishment of tax-free living, restrictions on the US-style green card and expats facing unemployment and cancelled visas, it appears that Saudisation is not taking into consideration the large expat community living in the country.
Since the start of the year, more than 300,000 expats have willingly left Saudi Arabia, fearing for their futures due to the implementation of the new Saudi vision instated by the Crown Prince. Currently, around 1,000 foreign workers are being sacked or feeling they have no choice but to quit their jobs everyday. By the end of June this year, the number of unemployed expats in Saudi Arabia had risen to 66,000. This was due to the reduction countrywide in jobs for expats and the financial levy imposed on workers’ families.
The new initiative put in place was the brainchild of the recently-appointment Crown Prince Mohammad. Whilst the roots of the plan were positive – to help Saudi Arabia move from a reliance on oil revenue – it appears as if the plan has skewed into an expat extermination. Many officials and even members of the Prince’s family have disagreed with his long-term plan and have been imprisoned as a result of their opinions.
However, it is not just expat workers who have been affected by the changes taking place in the Gulf State. Around 500,000 Saudi nations have left their jobs in the private sector. However, there are now half a million more Saudi women in the work force which, along with women now being able to legally drive, is definitely a plus point for the female population.
In stark contrast, neighbouring Oman are doing things differently. New investment by the government is creating jobs that are for both Omani nationals and expats. He majority of the funds is being fed into oil and gas projects which will start in 2018 to focus on developing the resources. The size of the investment will stimulate the economy and allow the implementation of new technology and cost-effective practices.
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