Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Saudi Arabia: Work Panic

"The Labour Office has changed its rules in a way that will affect you, so you need to finish your iqama transfer quickly or you will not be able to renew your iqama next time, or maybe you will not even be able to stay till your iqama expires. Make the transfer quickly and make sure you transfer to a company that complies with Saudisation requirements."

This was the message my husband recently received from his former employer. It caused distress because not only will he have to look for a company to hire him, he will have to look for a company that promotes Saudisation.

After the message of the Minister of Labour a few days ago saying that, all expatriate workers within the Kingdom will have a six-year cap on their work visas, many expats have been pretty stressed up. The Minister of Labour, Adel Fakieh, threw more light on this issue, reasuring expats that this does not apply to all of them.

According to the Ministry of Labour, companies will be placed in 3 categories:

Green:Those that comply with the Saudisation policy.
Yellow: Those that have not reached Saudisation quota of employment.
Red: Those that have completely disregarded Saudisation rules.

If you are working for a company in the green list, you are safe. Your iqama (residence permit) does not have the six-year cap.

If you are working for the yellow-listed guys, and have been working for 6 years or more, your visa will not be renewed. If you have been working for less than 6 years, your visa would be renewed, but bear in mind that you will have to say goodbye to Saudi at the end of your 6 years. Nice for someone who has amassed enough to go on retirement, right?

If you are working for a red-listed company, forget about renewing your visa with your company.

The good news is that, employees working for the yellow and red-listed guys, would have the liberty to join a company that falls in the green category, as their employers would not have the power to stop them from transferring to another company. That leaves a smile on the face of the guy who was always working under constant threats from his employer. On the other hand you should be darn lucky to find yourself among the estimated 50% who would get a job in a green-listed company. So what happens to the other half? Packing their bags and preparing to go home earlier than planned? Not a good end for someone who has not yet achieved his goal in Saudi Arabia.

When is this going to come into effect? In two weeks. Waoh! That's pretty tough. Lets hope for the best. We pray that many Saudi employees will learn when it is time to come to work, and how to make the difference between working and sitting all day long drinking tea/coffee and/or smoking cigarettes during working hours.

Below, you will find the links to some companies that promote Saudisation:

Balubaid Group of Companies

Saudi Arabian Basics Industries Corporation

Al Tayyar Travel Group

NAMA Chemicals

Abdul Latif Jameel Group

AM Batterjee Group

For more information, see the Ministry of Labour Nitaqat programme. Please be informed that the information at present is given in the Arabic language only.


  1. Very Good Information Dear...!!!
    God Bless you ....

  2. Thanks Kashif.
    May He bless you too. I hope you are in the "Green list." :-)

  3. No Dear, I am in trouble and about to leave, may be in coming months... !

  4. Oh no! I am so sorry to hear this. An unplanned departure is no fun.

    May God help you in all your endeavours.

  5. Thnx! For ur Info. Can Anybody Upload the List of yellow And red listed Companies?

  6. Hello. You're right. I wish I could lay hands on that list. I even doubt I could get it in English.

  7. Saudization is only bluffing from ministry of labor

  8. Well, if it was really the case, then my husband and I wouldn't be actively searching for someone to transfer to. We got barely 2 weeks, after which we'll get an exit if we do not find a new sponsor. I guess I can't say that the Nitaqat is a joke.

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