The third phase in the “ Saudization” policy of the Saudi government has gone into effect as early as April 7, 2019 which bans ex-pats our OFWs from working in 41 categories which will result into further losses of deployment in the government’s overseas hiring efforts.
This will be bad news for Filipinos aspiring to work in in Saudi Arabia as the Saudi Ministry of Labor and Development as most of these jobs are in the skilled sector, supervisory and managerial positions mostly held by OFWs and now are reserved exclusively for Saudi nationals only which will mean an estimated drop in new hires for the Kingdom by as much as 100,000 OFWs.
Re-hires from Saudi Arabia are also expected to drop as Filipinos holding positions in these positions reserved for Saudi only will not be rehired at the end of their contract or companies will reduce the number of ex-pats to comply with the 70% nationals ruling.
The ministry announced the job types and activities limited to Saudis in closed markets, commercial centers, malls, NGOs and the hospitality and tourism sector which include: 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 and director of staff relations.
The reduction of deployed HSWs in 2018 in addition to the lower forecast of OFW deployment in 2019 by migration expert Emmanuel Geslani will have a devastating effect on our dollar remittances aside from the loss of employment opportunities for our HSWs and OFWs in the Middle East especially in Saudi Arabia and other surrounding countries like Bahrain which now allows tourists to apply for working visas. Qatar has slowed down construction activities for the World Cup 2022 but continues to import more skilled workers for the new hotels and restaurants that will cater to the World Cup.
Deployment of skilled workers is expected to decline by 10-15% or about 80-100 thousand jobs for OFWs due to the unstable price of crude oil leading to a precarious financial situation of Saudi Arabia and other Middle East countries directly affecting their economies that will dampen business and government spending.
Officially known as the Saudi nationalization scheme, Saudization—the replacement of foreign workers with Saudi nationals through a quota policy—is spreading to more parts of the economy. With nearly half of the native population under the age of 25 and a national native unemployment rate of more than 12%, jobs for Saudis are a priority.
In phases, beginning in September, the Ministry of Labor and Social Development has expanded the policy to 12 retail sectors, including automotive, apparel, kitchenware, electrical and electronics and furniture stores. Businesses in these sectors now have to employ at least 70% Saudi nationals.
Saudization started in the 1980s and has largely been a success in public employment. In 2018, the public sector saw a 20% drop in expatriate workers compared to 2017. Saudi nationals now make up more than 95% of public-sector workers; the government aims to reach 100% by 2020.
In the private sector, however, results have been more modest—except in sectors like banking and telecommunications, where the authorities claim the 90% Saudization threshold has been crossed.
Meanwhile the recruitment sector is gearing up for the deployment of skilled workers to Japan this second quarter of 2019 as the Japanese government issues the guidelines for the entry of Filipinos into 14 identified areas of work that OFWs can enter Japan on visas which will allow a maximum of 5 years stay.
Other markets the recruitment industry is gaining a foothold is in Eastern Europe countries of Poland, Czechoslovakia, and Croatia