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The Nitaqat System of Saudi Arabia
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is a foreign labor-rich country. It gets more than 75% of its labor force from migrants around the world, most specially from countries in South East Asia and mainland India. But that soon might change.
Saudis are rich people. This is the reason why they can afford to pay foreign laborers instead of doing the work themselves. Which is quite good, for two reasons; they get to extend help to people from other countries who need jobs; and second, they become more competitive despite their laziness, pride and conservative nature. Years of relying on foreign labor has taken a great toll on their citizens and instilled laziness as the way of life.
But the King wants to change this. Almost 20% of Saudis ages 25-40 are jobless. The Kingdom thought of implementing a system which will require companies to hire Saudis, that is of course in replacement for foreign laborers.
It's called the Nitaqat system, wherein companies will be categorized into green, yellow and red companies. Those in the green category are companies which have fully complied to the system's required number of Saudis working in their company. Green companies will receive perks from the government, such as tax breaks and favors.
Yellow companies are those with moderate number of employed Saudis, but are not fully compliant to the system, thus they face some kind of punishment, like their ability to hire foreign laborers blocked. Companies labeled red are the ones who will be affected the most, as this means they don't have enough Saudis employed, or none at all. Aside from blocking their ability to hire foreign laborers, their business license will not be renewed the following fiscal year.
According to government officials, the Nitaqat does not necessarily mean taking foreign laborers off their jobs. Foreign employees will be given the chance to transfer to other companies who are already in the green category.
The Nitaqat is actually a great move from the King to get his own people moving. It's probably the best thing they have come with in regards with nationalism. But there is one problem. None has taken into account how many jobless Saudis are actually willing to work, and provide the required number in the Nitaqat for employed locals.
I say not too many.
And if there aren't enough Saudis willing to work, these companies will continue on laying off foreign workers so they could at least equalize their number to the Saudis working for them. And if that is how the system will work, you can spell disaster in that country's future, as well as to the number of foreign workers who will be affected.
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The Nitaqat System of Saudi Arabia
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