Manama: Justice ministry sources in Saudi Arabia said that 34 Saudi women got married to Afghans and Bangladeshis last year.
The sources said that the figure was equally split between the two nationalities, 17 in each case, local daily Al Sharq reported.
However, 55 Saudi men took Afghan wives and 27 married Bangladeshi women, the sources who were not identified said.
Under Saudi rules, a Saudi woman can take a foreign husband only if she is at least 25 years old. The age can be lowered to 21 if she proves that she is a close relative of the groom.
A Saudi man has to be at least 30 years old to marry a non-Saudi woman and the age can be brought down to 25 if there is a close family relation between them.
The man has also to prove that he has a job and that he has a steady income.
Social experts attributed the tendency by Saudis to take non-Saudi spouses to the gradual change in local mindsets through contacts with other cultures.
“Marriages used to be confined to family members, then to neighbours,” Fuad Al Mushaikhas said. “They have now stretched outside the Saudi kingdom. The fact that women go out to work could be one of the major reasons for taking up foreign husbands,” he said, quoted by the daily.
The expert warned that under the law, Saudi mothers could not pass on their nationality to their children.