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5 Changes in Saudi Arabia that’ll Definitely Affects OFWs this 2019

Saudi Arabia is one of the biggest markets for Overseas Filipino workers (OFWs). For many years the Kingdom has always made it to the number 1 in the list of Top Destinations of OFWs. But in the last few years, there are many changes in Saudi Arabia that directly or indirectly affects the lives of our modern heroes in the said country. This 2019, here are some changes OFWs that will embrace in the said country.

1. The third phase of Saudization took effect on January 7

To provide more job opportunities to their own citizen, Saudi Arabia has already implemented three phases of Saudization since last year.

Starting January 7, 2019 OFWs or other expats are no longer allowed to take job opportunities in the following;

  • Medical Equipment Stores
  • Construction and Building Materials Shops
  • Car spare parts and shops
  • Sweet shops

The first phase of Saudization that took effect last September 11, 2018, covers the following;

  • Car and Motorbike shops
  • Men’s and Children’s wear
  • Home and Office Furniture
  • Home Utensils

The second phase that took effect last November 9 covers the following;

  • Electronic shops
  • Electrical appliance shop
  • Watches and eyeglasses

2. Additional 41 Jobs to be off-limit to Non-Saudis in Madinah

Base on the decree of the Ministry of Labor and Social Development of Saudi Arabia, 41 jobs in the city of Madinah will be for Saudi only starting April 7, 2019, for a non-governmental organization and June 10, 2019, for the hospitality and tourism sector that will include the following;

  • Closed Markets
  • Commercial Centers
  • Malls

NGOs and the hospitality and tourism sector that will include the following

  • Light-vehicle driver
  • Order Taker
  • Safety and security officer
  • Food service employee
  • Telephone operator
  • Data-entry clerk
  • Administrative clerk
  • Secretary
  • General services supervisor
  • Room service supervisor
  • Maintenance supervisor
  • Sales and marketing supervisor
  • Safety and security supervisor
  • Tourism programs supervisor
  • Front office supervisor
  • Supervisor of telephone operators
  • Overseer
  • Director of security and safety
  • Acting director
  • Maintenance manager
  • Room service manager
  • Customer service manager
  • Administrative manager
  • Sales and marketing representative
  • Director of tourism programs
  • Director of the front office
  • Director of staff relations

3. Possible Saudization in Grocery Stores

According to the Minister of Commerce, there are 35,000 jobs for Saudis in grocery stores across the Kingdom. According to some economist in the Kingdom, Saudization of jobs in groceries will remarkably reduce annual remittances sent by expatriate workers. They said the remittances would drop by SR6 billion if the decision was implemented.

4. 2-years extension for expat work visas

The Ministry of Labor and Social Development announced the extended validity of new work visas for expatriate in private sectors firm. The visa is now two years valid from one year without any additional fees.

But the ministry clears that although it covers old visas related to regular work visas, housekeeping visas are not included. The ministry added that companies can also cancel old visas and issue new visas for two years if the visa requirements are still valid.

5. The future of expat fee

It is expected that Saudi Arabia will release its finding on the controversial expat levy on expatriate workers this January 2019. The fees were implemented in 2017 as part of a drive to increase non-oil government revenue. According to some sources, the fees are unlikely to be canceled altogether and a ministerial committee is looking at modifying or restructuring them.

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