A labor shortage caused by the departure of thousands of illegal foreign workers, along with increasing commercial activity in the Kingdom, is likely to see a rise in the salaries of expatriates, according to analysts and business leaders. Housemaids and drivers who have corrected their residential status are already demanding monthly salaries of SR 2,000 instead of SR 800, to the shock of their Saudi sponsors. V.P. Mohammed Ali, managing director of Jeddah National Hospital, said he believes the salaries of not only domestic help but also other workers would go up, thanks to increasing business activities in the country. "I am expecting another big economic boom in Saudi Arabia.
Jeddah alone needs more than 10 new hospitals to meet health care requirements," he told Arab News. Ali believes that the proposal allowing foreigners to do business in partnership with Saudis would boost the Kingdom's economy and prevent coverup businesses. "This will encourage more foreigners to invest in the Kingdom without fear and will benefit both Saudis and expatriates," he said. A mediator in the recruiting sector said he has a driver and a maid ready to work; the maid is asking for a salary of SR 1,600 and the driver SR 1,800. He said both are insisting on the salaries mentioned, and added that some Saudi families pay much more than these amounts.
Saudi businessmen and employers are expecting the government to extend the July 3 deadline for illegal expats to correct their status. "Even an extension for another three months will not be enough," said Hussein Aleyadi. There are nearly four million foreign workers who need their status corrected. "The Ministry of Labor should have been well-prepared to handle this huge number of workers." Businessmen fear their workers will not be able to correct their status within the remaining amnesty period and face penalty. "When we approach the Labor Office for the transfer of sponsorship, they say the system is not working," said Abdul Rahman Yousuf, chairman of Al-Fadul Freight Solutions.