Saudi Arabia has announced a new measure to better regulate the recruitment of foreign workers.
The kingdom’s cabinet has approved plans to set up labour attaché offices at its embassies in Egypt, India, Philippines, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Indonesia, and Sri Lanka.
The seven countries currently account for the largest number of foreign workers in Saudi Arabia including three million from India and over 2.5 million from Pakistan.
“We welcome the decision of the Saudi government to appoint a labour attaché at its embassy in Pakistan,” Pakistan’s ambassador to Saudi Manzur Ul Haq told Arab News.
“The presence of a labour attaché will greatly help in the recruitment of suitable candidates for jobs in the kingdom, and help in addressing their problems,” he added.
Saudi’s Labour and Social Development ministry will determine the number of Saudi staff at the new labour attaché offices and their duties.
The move will raise awareness about the country’s labour regulations, ensure the recruitment of “highly skilled” workers and get rid of brokers, the ministry said.
Yahya Al-Maqboul, president of the recruitment committee at the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry, told Arab News that the initiative will mainly help avoid problems generated by “wrong channels” in recruiting foreign workers.
The initiative comes even as the kingdom is pushing to increase the employment of Saudi nationals in the private sector and reduce its dependence on foreign workers.
It also comes after several foreign workers in Saudi from countries such as India, Pakistan and Bangladesh were forced to return to their home countries after they were laid off and not paid wages by struggling construction companies, that were hit by the oil price drop.
However, the Saudi government has announced several measures to help the affected workers.