WHEN Saudis launched a Twitter campaign with a hashtag titled Saudi Arabia for Saudis, demanding nationalization of jobs to fight unemployment among the country’s citizens, some foreign workers opposed the move calling it racist.
I would like to tell those expats that it is not racism. They should know that it was just a hashtag raised by a group of unemployed Saudis and some other Saudi nationals supported the campaign as they understand the sentiments of their jobless brothers and sisters.
It is not a new call. Nationals of many other countries have raised the same slogan but nobody termed it as racist. Then why do people call it racist when it comes to Saudi Arabia?
Let me tell frankly that foreign workers have occupied important private sector jobs in the Kingdom. There was no problem for it in the past due to lack of Saudi graduates to take up jobs. Saudi Arabia still welcomes foreign workers to meet its various requirements.
We appreciate that some of these workers have spent more than 50 years in the Kingdom and they live in the country with their sons and grandsons. Now things have changed with thousands of Saudi graduates coming out of universities in the Kingdom and abroad seeking jobs.
It is a fact that despite the presence of thousands of unemployed Saudis in the Kingdom, we have not seen any racist behavior or hate crimes in the Kingdom like in other parts of the world. The Twitter campaign was launched by a group of unemployed Saudis to express their anger against Saudi officials who have failed to provide them with employment opportunities.
The hashtag was not addressing expatriate workers who make use of opportunities in the Kingdom thanks to their educational qualifications and experience.
Let me tell you another surprising fact. Expats show racism by trying to employ their compatriots at the expense of Saudis. It is unfortunate that Saudis are denied of jobs in their own country. I can give you hundreds of examples for this.
Foreign workers try to form their own mafias in Saudi companies to monopolize jobs preventing others from getting employed. Naturally, Saudis are also prevented from getting a chance to get employed due to this attitude of expat groups.
Jeddah, which is the business capital of Saudi Arabia, is a good example of this negative phenomenon. Authorities have so far failed to stop this job monopoly of expats at the expense of Saudis. So there is nothing wrong in the hashtag that urges authorities and private company managers that they should give priority to Saudi workers because Saudi Arabia belongs to Saudis.
What we need is a balancing role to fight unemployment among Saudis by reducing recruitment of foreign workers. No doubt Saudis deserve to be given top priority in jobs because they are the people of this country. Expats should be considered for jobs only after Saudis.
Saudi Arabia has been and will continue to be a country of goodness for people from all over the world and the Kingdom has been blessed by God with resources to support others.