64% of foreign women married to Saudis are Asian: Awasir


Saudi Gazette report

JEDDAH — Awasir, the Saudi Charitable Society for the Welfare of Saudi Families Abroad, has reported that 64 percent of foreign wives of Saudis are from Asian countries, Al-Watan newspaper reported on Sunday.

The charity said 19 percent of foreign wives of Saudis are African, 4.3 percent are from the Arabian Gulf countries and 4 percent are from Western countries.

Awasir Chairman Tawfiq Al-Swaylem said the charity cares for Saudi families abroad.

“Marriage with non-Saudi women has become a common phenomenon in the past 20 years. We are interested in studying the phenomenon to understand why it has become so popular among Saudis. Nowadays, a lot of cultural and social exchanges take place at the local, national and international levels. Moreover, the media is influencing people and individuals have access to social media, making it easy to connect with people from across the world,” said Al-Swaylem.

He also said new forms of marriage contracts have appeared such as civil marriage, misyar marriage, misyaf marriage, custom marriage, tourism marriage, summer marriage and other marriages with the intention of divorce after a certain period of time.

“One of the reasons for such marriages is the high rate of dowry and the huge expenses of life in the Kingdom. There are also many opinions on what constitutes a marriage. The young Saudis no longer prioritize the responsibility of family and are not ready to make sacrifices to ensure a stable family life. They do not anticipate the severe consequences of broken families and the differences in customs and values,” said Al-Swaylem.

He also said elderly men are the ones who opt to marry foreign women the most.

“The other category of men marrying foreign women are men with limited income sources, which oblige them to marry foreign women because the expenses of marriage and the upkeep of foreign wives are comparatively cheap. There are also the polygamous men who opt to marry foreign women as second, third or fourth wives,” said Al-Swaylem.

He added some Saudi men marry foreign women after they travel abroad for tourism or study.

“The last category are men who marry temporarily with the intention of divorce," he said.

Al-Swaylem has said one reason for many Saudi men getting married abroad is a culture of spinsterhood has spread in Saudi society with the number of women of do not wish to get married rising for various reasons.

"There are more than 1.5 million spinsters in the Kingdom currently and the number is rising,” said Al-Swaylem.

He added the causes of the spread of the spinsterhood are poverty, unemployment, strict and complicated tribal and social traditions, high living expenses, rejection of polygamous marriages and women prioritizing work and education over marriage.