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The Kingdom struggles over majority withdrawal of expatriate labour pool

The Kingdom struggles over majority withdrawal of expatriate labour poolBy Saif Alam Siddiqui for Maeeshat Media,

The kingdom’s Vision 2030 to create more jobs for Saudis in the private sector rebound and squeeze the economy, the Washington Post reported that a mass evacuation of foreign workers had initially encouraged to help secure employment for its citizens, is now adding to its trouble over an economic decline.

A project by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) to create more jobs for Saudi citizens in the private sector has flopped and added burden on the economy.

About 1.1 million expatriate left the kingdom workforce from early 2017 to the third quarter of 2018, coinciding with a fee on dependents of expatriate workers and restrictions against foreign workers in several sectors, last year Saudi officials were reportedly considering lifting or easing the fees imposed on expatriate workers because of the harm of the policy was causing the economy, but the fees remain the same.

As the expatriate workers have left, young Saudis have not taken the jobs left open, for example in low-wage construction or retail, and the unemployment rate has soared as high as 12.9 per cent in the past two years.

The worker departure has added to anxiety, as Saudi leaders struggle to attract foreign investment after an anti-corruption crackdown by MBS that included the arrests of hundreds of business executives and public officials. In a sign that it is responding to investor anxiety, Saudi Arabia held its second major investor conference in less than four months and is expected to draw millions of dollars in investment for mining, energy and various sectors.

Reuters reported that the European Commission recently added Saudi Arabia to an EU draft list of countries that pose a threat to the bloc because of lax controls against terrorism financing and money laundering. The move marked a disappointment for Riyadh at a time when it attempts to strengthen its international reputation and encourage foreign investors to participate in a huge economic transformation plan.

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