Many government-contracted firms in the country do not want to continue sponsoring their expatriate employees because they want to make way for Saudi workers.
A number of expatriate employees here say that many of them have not had their contracts renewed because their companies are concerned about their Nitaqat quotas.
Many of these firms have short-term contracts with government bodies so they do not want to hire expatriate workers for long periods.
Hussain Al-Qahtani, spokesman for the Presidency of Meteorology and Environment (PME), said that some companies contracted to the PME have stopped transferring the sponsorships of new expatriate employees.
“Most of the contracted firms have short-term contracts. Therefore, these firms do not want to hire expat employees over the long-term. These firms hire expatriate workers until the end of their contracts with government bodies. Most contracted firms have started looking for Saudis to work in government projects, instead of expats,” Al-Qahtani told Arab News.
Kamal Mahmoud, a Sudanese resident in Jeddah, told Arab News: “I got a chance to work as a public relations expert with a company contracted to a government body. However, I have spent eight months trying to transfer my sponsorship to my employer. I think they do not want to transfer my sponsorship in spite of their promises to me.”
Companies and workers face penalties for not legalizing their work status. However, some firms are still violating the law by hiring expatriates for short-term government contracts without transferring their sponsorship.
“Labor inspectors are regularly checking companies to make sure they hire expatriate employees under their sponsorship,” Hattab Al-Anazi, the Ministry of Labor’s spokesman, told Arab News recently.