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Saudi Public Sector Told to Fire All Expats by 2020

Heads of government departments were reportedly told by the ministry of civil service this week that only Saudi nationals would be able to work in public sector jobs by the end of 2020
More than 32,000 illegal expatriates have left the country since the beginning of the campaign.More than 32,000 illegal expatriates have left the country since the beginning of the campaign.

Saudi ministries have been given three years to fire all of their expatriate workers, local media reported, in the latest clampdown against foreign labor in the kingdom.

It comes as part of the kingdom’s ambitious national transformation program for 2020, which will see government positions filled by Saudis and a massively reduced public sector, Albawaba reported.

Heads of government departments were reportedly told by the ministry of civil service this week that only Saudi nationals would be able to work in public sector jobs by the end of 2020.

“There will be no expatriate workers in the government after 2020,” Abdullah al-Melfi, deputy minister for civil service, instructed ministry officials during a meeting.

“The complete nationalization of government jobs is an important objective of the national transformation program 2020 and the Saudi Vision 2030,” Melfi added. The workshop concentrated on the kingdom’s national transformation program for 2020, according to the Saudi Gazette.

Saudi Arabia is also pursuing an aggressive diversification plan known as Vision 2030, which looks at massively expanding the private sector. Continued low oil prices have put pressure on the public sector to cut jobs with foreigners the obvious target.

The government believes the job cuts will reduce capital outflows and create new positions for the some 700,000 Saudis looking for work.  This should also limit the impact of a streamlined government on nationals.

Riyadh also announced that surgeries would not be able to hire any foreign dentists to make way for Saudis.

Meanwhile, the ministry of Interior has revealed that more than 32,000 illegal expatriates have left the country since the beginning of the government campaign “A Nation Without Illegal Expatriates” that was launched on March 29.

It said it has arrested 100,000 violators of the country’s residency laws since the launch of the campaign. The drive entailed an amnesty period of 90 days, during which illegal expatriates can leave the country without being subjected to any penalties. Deputy supervisor of the campaign in Riyadh, Col. Safar bin Dlaim, called on violators to make use of the grace period and leave before it ends. “Those (violators) who do not leave will be required to pay all fines and fees and will be considered a wanted person in the system. The goal of the campaign is for every resident to be legal.”

Less than 50 days remain before the amnesty period expires.

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