The perils of becoming dependent on foreign workers: It is hitting Saudi Arabia too

The Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs has criticized the Saudization scheme of replacing expatriate employees with Saudi nationals, which has resulted in a shortage of experts in many positions, a section of the Arabic press reported on Saturday.

In a recent report quoted by the Makkah Arabic daily, the ministry said that many Saudi employees are specialized in fields that are mostly needed in the private sector. This causes many Saudis to resign from ministry jobs and take up positions in the private sector.

The report also stated that the ministry is finding it difficult to employ experienced expatriates due to the low salaries being offered to them.

It also complained about the Ministry of Labor’s delays in finding employees for vacant positions. “The Ministry of Labor has not responded effectively to recruitment requests to fill some jobs.

“In addition, the allowance is so low that many employees refuse to work on deputation,” the report said.

It noted that travel and living expenses for employees outside their work place exceed the allowances they are paid. The report expressed the ministry’s concern about the shortage of approved jobs…

* * *
You may not care about Saudi Arabia’s problems, but I see larger picture.

The problem with foreign workers is that one or another they distort the job market and employers become used to this and are unwilling to put up with a change if the foreign workers are suddenly removed.

This is a singularly acute problem in democratic nations, where the opinions of business groups and employers carries great weight. As we have seen in Canada, they are currently screaming and yelling, and they are succeeding to some extent in the attempt to stop the TFW program altogether.

The same is true with the USA and south of the border workers. Not to mention the UK and cheap Eastern European workers.

I do understand the employers’ point of view. They become used a particular regime and suddenly it is changed.

The solution, for the democracies, at least, is to gradually phase out these programs. But we must be firm: no cheap labour abroad should be permitted. 

It creates a cycle of dependency, because the foreign worker’s children won’t for low wages either and thus an endless supply is required.

Skilled workers should be evaluated on a case by case basis. But the cycle of dependency of cheap foreign labour must be broken or we will become Third World too.

The situation in Saudi Arabia is completely different and in any case, the government  can do what it want – they do not hold elections or have lobbying groups.

Yet it is interesting to see that they too are experiencing a problem due to a sudden change in the worker situation.  But they too must persist,  since they can no longer afford to support legions of people that do not add to the economy.  For decades, they could afford to do this, but not any longer (their native population is growing too fast).