Saudi to limit work permits to help locals

RIYADH (Reuters) – Saudi Arabia will not renew the work permits of foreign workers  who have spent six years in the country as part of its plan to create jobs for nationals, its labour minister was quoted as saying on Monday.”The current situation calls for strong cooperation between the government and private sector in solving the problem of unemployment with hundreds of thousands looking for work,” Adil Fakieh was quoted as saying by the pan-Arab newspaper al-Hayat.

Let's put the "Saudi" in Saudization

Fakieh did not say when the decision would be implemented or whether it would be applied to all foreign workers or to specific jobs.

Unemployment among nationals in the kingdom, which sits on more than a fifth of global oil reserves and is the world’s biggest oil exporter, is currently 10.5 percent, he said, adding that 28 percent of the unemployed were women and 40 percent high school graduates.

Fakieh said there were currently eight million foreign workers in the kingdom of whom six million work in the private sector. Remittances from foreign workers total 100 billion riyals ($27 billion) a year, he said.

Saudi Arabia does not regularly publish data on unemployment, a sensitive issue since it highlights fissures in wealth distribution in the absolute monarchy with no elected parliament, where newspapers tend to carry the official line.

King Abdullah offered Saudis $93 billion in handouts in March to stave off unrest of the kind rocking other parts of the Arab world. This followed a $37 billion package announced in February in an initial move to ease social tensions.

Despite its wealth, unemployment in the Gulf Arab state has risen as an outdated school system focused on religion and the Arabic language produces graduates who have difficulty finding jobs with private firms.

Companies favour workers from Asia, prepared to work long hours for low salaries, or well-paid foreign experts.

Many Saudis work in the public sector but, in contrast to other Gulf oil producers such as Kuwait, citizens do not automatically get a job because of the rapidly rising population, which now stands at almost 19 million.

In 1994 the government began a “Saudisation” plan, setting quotas for the number of nationals private firms must hire. The programme failed to achieve a significant increase in the participation of nationals in the private sector, where Saudis still account for only 10 percent of employees.

Almost 70 percent of Saudis are under the age of 30, and the population is increasing by around 2.4 percent annually.

In an attempt to create thousands of new jobs and diversify its oil-dominated economy, Saudi Arabia launched a $400 billion five-year spending plan in 2008, the largest stimulus relative to gross domestic product among the world’s 20 leading nations.  (Reporting by Jason Benham, editing by Tim Pearce: REUTERS/ May 30, 2011 at 14:02 )

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POLO/OWWA conducts OLEP Plus for OFWs

The Philippine Overseas Labor Office is conducting a series of  forum for three consecutive Friday’s starting this coming 27th of May, to be followed on the 3rd of June  and  17th  of June 2011  respectively  at POLO OFW Leaders Lounge inside the Diplomatic Quarter in Riyadh.

The mentioned forum called Overseas Labor Education Program or OLEP  is a noteworthy initiative by then former POLO Labor Attaché Resty Dela Fuente who is currently posted as Labor Attaché in Brussels, Belgium.

In an email sent by POLO Central Region Operations-Welfare Officer Atty. Cesar Chavez  the OLEP which is at present dubbed as “OLEP Plus” (Overseas Labor Education Program for Community Leaders) is a program that will give OFWs relevant information and know-how about the host country, its labor laws and its culture and OFWs rights, obligations and privileges as well,  recognized by the host country.   

Left to Right (POLO/OWWA) Asst. Labor Attache Atty. Cesar L. Chavez, Jr., Welfare Officer Odin Abdula, (ANS)Vice Consul, Atty. Roussel Reyes, Vice Consul, Atty. Paulo Saret and Islamic Center Dawa'h Exec. Manager Shk. Marwan Al Hamd during On-site Overseas Labor Education Program of the Philippine Embassy, POLO & OWWA in the 2nd Industrial Area-Riyadh/January 2010

POLO/OWWA OLEP Plus, under the mentorship of  POLO WelOff Atty. Cesar Chavez  is at present designed that consist the following program outline: Basic Community Leadership; Guide on the Salient Provisions of the New Saudi Labor Law; How to assist and handling Distress Calls; Family Law on Support; Trafficking in Person, Money Laundering; RA 10022; Workshop and others.  

OLEP Plus ensures the use of common reference and provides correct information to OFWs seeking advice from fellow OFWs.

While human smuggling is the talk of the town allegedly carried out by some POLO officials in Kuwait, the Filipino Community in Saudi Arabia still have very much confidence with our Labor officials  particularly in Riyadh and Al Khobar.

OLEP Plus  include  ground rules of  human trafficking and hopefully the “Waiver Policy” at Bahay Kalinga will continue to be enforced to prevent devious officials in releasing or transferring an OFW in distress from one employer to another in exchange for monetary consideration.

The BK “Waiver Policy” also ensures that our ran away female OFWs are protected from further harm done by fellow Filipinos who took advantage of their unfortunate situation.

See you at OLEP Plus!(BongA)

FilCom in Dubai come up with safety awareness booklet for OFWs

Filipino community leaders in Dubai come up with 50-page safety awareness book with tips outlining how compatriots new to the UAE can stay out of trouble.

Also in KSA "Avoid kissing in public"

DUBAI: Sex outside marriage could land you in big trouble. Avoid kissing in public. Don’t think that your debts are cancelled after you spend time in jail for bouncing a cheque. Don’t eat or drink in public during the fasting hours of Ramadan.

These are simple yet firm reminders Filipinos new to the country will get from a “safety awareness booklet” to curb the number of compatriots landing in trouble for being on the wrong side of UAE laws, a community leader said.

The 50-page booklet is being prepared by Filcom, a group of over 50 Filipino community leaders in Dubai and the northern emirates. “It’s a simple and easy to understand guide to remind our ‘kabayans’ [compatriots] about how to behave and take responsibility for their actions while in the UAE,” Lisa Magno Concepcion, President of Filcom, said.

The passport-size handbook is the latest attempt by the Filipino community to communicate dos and don’ts to the estimated 400,000 compatriots in Dubai. According to Concepcion, around 10,000 copies will be printed initially and distributed for free on June 10, two days ahead of celebrations marking the 113th Philippine Independence Day.

The guide also deals with illicit relations and potential punishments and also offers home safety tips. Couples who live together outside marriage are unaware that it is illegal here.” Many are also unaware that the way they dress could also invite trouble,” she said, adding a lot of Filipinos mistakenly think their debts are written off after they are jailed over non-payment of bank loans. “But in truth, you still owe the bank which can file a civil case until the amount is paid in full.”

The bilingual handbook (Tagalog and English), click here >>>>>>>>>to read more.

AFTTA and KACST Filipino employees united to promote Sports

AFTTA and KACST Filipino employees united to promote Sports

AFTTA-KACST

Riyadh, 14 May 2011All Filipino Table Tennis Association popularly known in the Filipino sports activities in Riyadh as AFTTA and the Filipino employees of King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology-KACST united to promote sports among the Filipino Community in the area.  

AFTTA is a Filipino Table Tennis sports organization in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia with more than a hundred members. Table Tennis is the main activity of the group and each year has held four seasonal tournaments and four non-level or invitational tournament.

New AFTTA members belong to the Filipino community working in KACST, a Saudi government institution offered the compound’s recreation center to be the new home of AFTTA.

The gesture was appreciated by the group in a meeting held last Friday, 13 May 2011 at KACST recreation center. AFTTA President Vic Delos Santos was thankful to KACST management and Filipino employees in their desire to promote table tennis as productive activity in the community. “This will not only give the body physically fit but a healthy diversion to ease homesickness.” Delos Santos added. He also emphasized that AFTTA is purely a sport organization and should not be used in any political agenda.

Bong Amora who represent KACST employees in the meeting, explained to the group to respect the security measures by KACST’s  security management especially entering the compound and only members of AFTTA are allowed to enjoy the recreation facilities.“Promoting camaraderie among table tennis enthusiasts is not only that matters but in order to become a model expatriate to the host country, everyone should respect the authority, be disciplined and have self control, these are basic ways  to master the sport of their choice and to excel at the job”,   Amora said.

AFTTA’s 2010 officers are President Vic Delos Santos; Vice-President / Administrator Willie Venzon; Officer, Tournament Affairs Val Tomas; Deputy, Tournament Affairs Ariel Mauyao; OFFICERS:  Ways & Means Bong Tolosa; Finance Officer Romy Gripo; Muslim Affairs Coordinator Faisal Pandi; Artist / Media Affairs Coordinator Junior Ebro; Head Coach / Training & Development Ronnie Apostol; Technical Adviser Boy Marcelo; House Rules Adviser Bong Amora.

The group is planning to host invitational tournament this year and will also participate in other group’s table tennis tournament particularly those to be held in Dammam, Al Khobar and Jeddah. – BongA

Tidbits: Saudization & Transfer of Sponsorhip

Saudization 1990 up to present

ArabNews Editorial: Saudization plan

Wielding the stick does not work when employers know they can find a way out

It is refreshing to hear Labor Minister Adel Fakieh stating a few home truths about Saudization — that the number of unemployed is probably higher than the official figures, that the number of expatriates in the Kingdom is in fact growing at double the Saudi population growth rate and that, so far, Saudization had not worked.

Saudization is crucial to the well-being of the country. Jobs have to be found to meet the aspirations of the growing population. If they are not, the consequences could be dire.

The harsh truth is that Saudization has been an abject failure. Despite two decades of government campaigns, companies in the private sector continue to employ foreigners rather than Saudis — indeed do so in ever increasing numbers.

That is because expatriates are far cheaper to employ than Saudis. They can also be sacked easily. There is an issue too about Saudis’ work ethic. There may be plenty of voices protesting that Saudis are as dedicated workers as anyone else, but there is an undeniable problem. If there were not, why are there Saudi companies that refuse to employ Saudis? (Saudi men, that is; Saudi women are welcome.) Or employ them so that the numbers look right on the books, but tell them to stay at home? It happens. read more>>>>>

Online News, A year Ago – New Rules for Foreign Workers in Saudi Arabia

This online news was posted a year ago. I want to share this news to our readers,  for them to be enlightened about the rumors of a “new rules for Foreign Workers” in the Kingdom that they heard around the expatriates community.

Please note that there was no ban or law issued by the Saudi government for expats not to return  (come back) to KSA after a clearance or EXIT was issued to them by their employers. If an expat has a  good employee-employer relation and decide to apply for an EXIT and the employer approve the request;  and clear the expat  from all monetary obligations  plus an employment certificate, expatriate can come back to KSA with  new employer and can work in other GCC countries as well.

Transfer  of  Sponsorhip (online news below) means – a worker who transfer from one (original) employer to another (new) employer. The worker during the transfer must be still/within the Kingdom.  The other term for Transfer of Sponsorphip  is  Transferrable Iqama.  

Please read below online news with link:

Foreign workers in the Kingdom are now required to wait two years to transfer sponsorship to a new employer.

On March 24, the Labor Ministry announced that expatriates will have to work a minimum of two years with their current employer in order to get the approval for their sponsorship to be transfer to another. Until recently, workers were able to change jobs after six months with their employers’ consent. (Ministry of Labor Resolution 730/1 dated 29/3/1431 H).

This extension in waiting periods, enforced since April 15, aims to stabilize employer-employee relations and reduce negative impact expat movements were having in the job market.

“Some companies recruit workers in order to transfer their services to others. This practice had a negative impact on employment of Saudis,” said Abdul Rahman Al-Bawaridi, deputy minister for labor affairs. read more>>>>> 

Re-entry to any GCC Countries:

 العودة إلى أي من دول مجلس التعاون الخليجي:

Employees convicted of any violations in any of the GCC countries which includes violations of any labor or immigrations rules, will not be permitted to re-enter ANY GCC Country. Example : Employees going on vacation and not returning and then trying to re-enter another GCC country will be banned.

الموظفين المدانون بإرتكاب أي مخالفة في أي من دول مجلس التعاون الخليجي و التي تتضمن مخالفة أي من قوانين العمل أو الهجرة , لن يسمح لهم بالعودة لأي دولة من دول مجلس التعاون الخليجي. على سبيل المثال : الموظفون المغادرون في إجازة ولايعودوا, وثم يحاولون العودة إلى دولة أخرى من دول مجلس التعاون الخليجي سوف يتم منعهم.