The heads of general services offices have confirmed that more than 2 million expatriates have already rectified their residency status taking advantage of the grace period granted by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah.
Many of those who have benefited from the relaxation of the rules work in 100,000 plus contracting companies that have employed huge numbers of foreign workers, according to a report in Al-Madinah newspaper.
Abdullah Al-Katheri said the contracting sector is witnessing hectic activity with expatriates making strenuous efforts to get their labor and residency status rectified. The sector has the largest number of commercial registers and, as such, were forced to recruit a high number of expatriates who are under other sponsors.
Ali Al-Ghamdi, a member of the General Services Committee at the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry (JCCI), said passport offices in various parts of the Kingdom are witnessing an influx of company representatives applying to correct the statuses of their foreign workers.
He said the Labor Ministry's decision to strictly enforce the law that prohibits any expatriate from working for individuals or organizations other than his or her legal sponsor has resulted in the deportation of a large number of violators. This has also resulted in employers rushing to correct the statuses of their employees.
He pointed out that the number of expatriate workers in the Kingdom has increased tremendously in the last five years. Most of them were recruited by contracting firms, which were either selling these visas, or were renting the workers to other firms for SR500 a month per worker.
The Ministry of Labor's latest decision has put an end to such violations and exploitation.
Experts point out that if every registered firm employs five Saudi nationals, there will be 500,000 jobs available for Saudis.
The ministry's statistics indicate that more than 100,000 companies are still within the yellow and red zones of the Nitaqat program for failing to meet Saudization targets.
Of these companies, 33 are giant companies, 451 fall in the large companies category, 6,661 medium-scale companies, and the rest small establishments. The Ministry of Labor has classified firms according to the number of employees.
Firms with 1-9 employees as very small; firms with 10-49 employees as small; those with 50-499 employees as medium; and those with 500-2,999 employees are large firms. Firms with more than 3,000 employees are considered giant companies.
The Saudi Gazette