Expats' contributions appreciated



THERE are several objectives for the new Vision 2030 and we agree with all of them and disagree with some of the policies and methods followed to realize those objectives. One of its main objectives is to focus on the education, training and employment of Saudis as well as creating a suitable working environment for them either as an employee or an investor in one of the development projects.

This is a lofty goal and at the same time it does not prevent us from making use of international expertise in various fields, especially from Arab and Islamic countries, to implement the country’s development plans. The Vision 2030, which was set out with the support of foreign expertise, emphasizes the need to make use foreign manpower for our developmental programs.

Everybody in this country will acknowledge the significant role played by our previous ministers, deputy ministers, senior officials, media persons, religious leaders and intellectuals in boosting the Kingdom’s development during the past 50 years.

We cannot ignore or underestimate their achievements despite their mistakes and shortcomings. Hundreds of thousands foreign workers from Arab, Muslim and friendly countries have also contributed immensely to the Kingdom’s progress.

Some of these foreign workers have returned to their home countries after completing their contract and hold important positions such as ministers and top officials. Some others have started businesses and investment projects while others have gone to the US and other Western countries and obtained good jobs thanks to their long-standing experience in the Kingdom.

Some of these Arab doctors went to the US and were successful in impressing Americans through their excellent services. We are proud of them. Our country has served as a large training center for many of these foreign workers.

Saudi Arabia has recruited millions of foreign workers in the past to meet its development requirements. We, Saudis, are indebted to foreign doctors and teachers who treated us at hospitals and taught at schools and universities. We remember them with appreciation and pride.

A large number of them have left the Kingdom to continue their services in their countries. We hope that expatriate workers in the Kingdom would not misunderstand the Saudization program as a war against foreigners or as an expression of hatred toward them. The main objective of this program is to create job opportunities for thousands of Saudi jobseekers, who deserve priority in the Kingdom’s labor market.

The move was essential to cut down unemployment rate and combat poverty. It has nothing to do with the Kingdom’s political relations with other countries. I would like to express our sincere thanks and appreciation to all expatriates and their families who have left the Kingdom in recent years after extending their valuable services toward accelerating the country’s development.

They will remain in our hearts thanks to the strong friendship, even after departing from our country and we value their contributions. I have established friendship with a large number of foreign workers who have left the Kingdom and we maintain that friendship over the past years.

We hope our foreign workers and their families would continue this friendship with their Saudis employers and colleagues. Saudi Arabia will continue to seek international expertise to implement future development projects and enhance capabilities of its national cadre by providing them with education and training.

Future recruitment programs of the country would focus on highly qualified foreign workers and experts and this move will benefit manpower exporting countries and help them earn more hard currency than before.

Exchange of local and international expertise will be the objective of any future vision and this policy will benefit manpower exporting countries. Europe and the United States offer their foreign experts and executives incentives such as permanent residency and nationality to keep them in their countries.

We should also adopt the same policy to attract outstanding foreign scientists, doctors and university professors. The Saudi leadership has adopted this vision since the Kingdom’s inception. Many experts from Arab and Islamic countries have obtained Saudi nationality in the past.

I hope the Kingdom would change its recruitment policy by bringing foreign experts who are required by the country to accelerate its development process. Let me take this opportunity to thank all expatriates who have contributed for the Kingdom’s development and left the country for good. We wish them success in their future careers and enterprises.