Saudi Arabia labor ministry asked to allow worker lending
Investors fear they will not be able to meet deadline and become liable to penalties in government and private sectors
Industrial and commercial committees of the Council of Saudi Chambers of Commerce have proposed that the Ministry of Labor pass a new law permitting the borrowing of workers between Saudi companies currently working in key projects that cannot be delayed, Al-Eqtisadiah business daily reported Saturday.
A source said the request has come due to fears by investors that they will not be able to meet deadlines and will be liable to penalties in government and private sector projects in which they partly relied on illegal workers.
The source added that the proposal submitted to the Ministry of Labor will make it compulsory for a company that wishes to borrow employees to sign a contract between the two sides, showing the nature of work and cities where the projects will be carried out, wages and working hours.
He said the system should guarantee the rights of workers.
The source further said the Technical and Vocational Training Corporation (TVTC) sends thousands of young Saudi men and women to the labor market to fill the gap left by the departure of over 1 million illegal expatriates who were not able to rectify their status. However, this is ineffective because the majority of Saudis prefer jobs in the government sector, which like the private sector also needs people with special skills.
Deputy Chairman of the National Committee for Transport Saeed Al-Bassami said the proposal has been studied carefully to guarantee that there will be no violations committed by any of the parties involved.
Nearly a million Bangladeshis, Filipinos, Indians, Nepalis, Pakistanis and Yemenis, among others, took advantage of the amnesty announced on April 3 and then extended for four months and have left the country. Another four million workers have legalized their situation by finding new employers to sponsor them.
After seven months of warnings, the Kingdom has begun a nationwide clampdown on the massive illegal foreign workforce in the country, with a special task force of 1,200 Labor Ministry officials combing shops, construction sites, restaurants and businesses.
This article was first published in the Saudi Gazette.