Saturday, February 16, 2008

Saudi Arabia is Tough on Immigrants

The Saudis have a guest worker program, but they don’t like immigrants all that much, and they won’t granting amnesty to any of them.

And, above all, they don’t want foreign workers to have any political rights:

Riyadh seeks short residency permits for foreigners

Labour minister wants shorter residency permits for foreigners who work in Gulf region to avoid pressure to grant them political rights.

Ghazi al-Gosaibi, Saudi Arabia’s labour minister since 2004, said that his government backs a proposal to impose residency limits on the millions of foreigners who work in the Gulf to prevent them from ever gaining a political voice in politics, either in the local municipalities or even the parliaments of the oil-rich region.
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Saudi Arabia is a member of the Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC), an organisation that brings together six conservative Muslim states in the Persian Gulf region—foreign workers, mostly from South Asia, make up about 13 million or 37 per cent of the region’s overall population of 35 million people.

In an interview with Arabic language newspaper al-Eqtisadiah, the minister said that Saudi Arabia feared that international pressure would in the future force states in the region to enfranchise expatriate workers.

Residency limits would prevent such pressure but al-Gosaibi did not specify how long expatriate workers should be allowed to work.

“Enfranchise” foreigners? What does having the franchise mean in Saudi Arabia?

You get to vote for… what? An increase in the monthly sand allowance?

Hat tip: insubria.


Tuan Jim said...

I don't know that I've ever seen any studies or articles on it, but I would be very interested to see what would happen to the Gulf states if the guest workers (not just the oil workers, but all industries) actually just left, rose up, or just sat down on the job. I've seen some interesting reports that in SA at least, the state of education and professional training is subpar at best and it would be very interesting to see if they could even field a minimum (skeleton crew) of trained domestic professionals capable of maintaining their oil pumping/refining capabilities - much less any other significant industries. Most higher level education in SA is inclined rather strongly along religious training rather than anything applicable in the global economy.

An action like that might well be the most interesting test of OPEC's power, not to mention the viability of those governments. Even hiring and shipping "scabs" from the same countries to replace the original workers would probably take at least a week. What would happen in the meantime?

ole said...

No matter how much you feel disgusted in a general sort of way by the saudis , you have to recognize a smart moove when you see one.
They act to protect their own interests unashamedly , which is exactly what europeans should be doing in their home contries , by making similar laws which would prevent muslim imigrants from ever becoming citizens ,and putting an unnegotiable upper limit on their residency as foreign workers.
If this seems unnecesarily HARSH to anyone ,you might not have recovered completely from a mild case of PC-braininfection which you probably had in the 80's..

laine said...

What a world we live in that the Saudis and other Arabs get nary a cross word said to them when they deny immigrant workers the most basic human rights making them serfs, or indentured servants.

To add insult to injury, Saudi as leader of the Muslim bloc pontificates at the UN against Israel and the United States, two of the freest countries on earth with impeccable human rights and rule of law.

Where is the political leader in the West who has not lost all his/her common sense?

Leftism with its bastard child P.C. is truly a mental illness and there's an epidemic of it going on.