Get rid of expats by 2020, public sector told

Get rid of expats by 2020, public sector told

Abdullah Al-Melfi

By Abdullah Al-Ghamdi
Okaz/Saudi Gazette

RIYADH — The Ministry of Civil Service has asked all ministries and government departments to get rid of all expatriate workers within three years, according to deputy minister Abdullah Al-Melfi.

The ministry said that there were 70,000 expats in the public sector at the end of last year.

“There will be no expatriate workers in the government after 2020,” he told a meeting here on Monday.

The meeting, which focused on the Saudization plan by 2020, was followed by a workshop titled “Job nationalization.”

A number of senior officials from the ministry and HR experts in a number of ministries, departments and universities participated in the meeting and the workshop.

“The complete nationalization of government jobs is an important objective of the National Transformation Program 2020 and the Kingdom’s Vision 2030,” Malfi said.

The deputy minister said the achievement of NTP and Vision 2030 entails the cooperation of all ministries and government departments.

The workshop began with a detailed report about the present situation of the Saudization process followed by a presentation on the procedures of job nationalization by 2020.

The meeting discussed various difficulties in the nationalization of government jobs and listened to the views and the opinions of the representatives of the ministries and departments on this aspect.


  1. Workers? Employees? Staff? That would mean majority of non gulf Arabs will be losing jobs.

    • Very unfortunate choice of words, he could have said “we plan to nationalise the public sector 100% by 2020 and we wish to thank all the expatriates for their hard work for the years so we could achieve this goal”

    • Don’t forget something: the instruction from the deputy minister was not given in In English. So the blame of the bad English word choice should go to the translator, I think. It’s always good to be fair.

    • I agree. The Writer could have used another statement like “100% Saudization in Public sector”

      Nevertheless people have freedom of writing/speaking their hearts out 😉

    • You are right Mr. Mohammad,but it is unfortunate that a country that is developed by expats and run by expats is terming expats with such draconian words which i am sure the UNHRC and all other international organisations like WTO and ILO should condemn seriously…

    • I agree. But often journalist tweak the wordings or take it out of context which makes it sounds racist.

      On the other hand, i believe “diversification” is very healthy for any organisation, especially if we need to transfer experience. Many expats are very professional and have a great experience that can add great value into our society.

      Allah bless you all,

  2. In other words, they will be outsourcing departments specially IT, engineering etc. to foreign firms !!!

  3. Why not start now so non arab will start packing their things and go home to their native countries.
    just give their hard earned benefits, that’s all…

  4. Please ask the person who most probably wrote this writing for you, to use appropriate words as “get rid” is an offensive word for hardworking expats working in KSA

  5. You have every right to employ whom you want. As Mohammed rightly pointed out you can
    say and do it in a more civilized manner. Don’t be racist and ungrateful..

  6. Hope it’s for the better… But be sure no expats should clean your roads, houses, toilets, floors, and others low class jobs….. Making your roads, buildings should be 100% saudi makes all LABOR FORCE…. Good luck to this idea, hope it’s for the better…

      • Good fighting spirit but be realistic too look first around.☺️☺️☺️It’s one country not only one 5 persons and lives involved here.Medical area needs specialist and well trained people to handle the lives of your people take note of that brother🤔🤔🤔💡💡.

    • The whole of Health sector will be non-government soon, they will be private / non-profit organizations, and will not be counted under Govt sector. Eventually it is the right of Saudi citizen and it has to happen soon, but only thing needs to be taken care of is the quality of service. Expats still work in-directly as a external consultants, the only thing is they are not on the ministry’s payroll, they are hired by a private company and deployed at the site.
      But this way the Govt. end up paying 4 fold amount for the same person.
      The best solution is a 5 year plan, where Saudi citizens should work in parallel along with the expert, may be as an assistant, and within 5 years Saudi citizens will be ready to take up the expert jobs, this is called induction method, even though some departments tried it, the problem sometimes is there is no accountability on part of the saudi trainee, hence he ends up with achieving no skills and moreover due to this, he would not be punctual and slowly loose interest. In some cases the expatriate, hold on to their skills and would not actually train the trainee due to job insecurity.
      What I believe is : A Saudi citizen has the first right on the jobs generated by the Saudi government, and they should make themselves skilled and capable to take the responsibility to relieve the expatriates.

      • I think and there is plan to develop private sector Hospitals , and Health Industry does not fall in this announcement , none of doctor is working in Ministeries , They are most cases Hospital or Programme employees, Developing Insurance for Saudis is planned , how this would be possible and If possible High skilled people can have any other place.

  7. Most of the times these articles are picked from Arabic newspapers and translated to English, Misrepresentation of Arabic words happen a lot in English dailies..

  8. Words depict the mentality “Get Rid off”. Are these expats beggars and living here to eat and sleep doing nothing?

      • You are right Hassan. But i guess some of them came because of Makkah and Madina. Wish you and your country all the best. By the way what field are you in.

      • Yes we are paid, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have self esteem, a bit of kind word would be great for all the hard work, and we do lot of sacrifices to earn hard earned money,where we stay away from our loved one, where we miss out our kids and family moment.,sometimes money is not everything

        • I do comply with u sister/brother, cant make out from name, dont think NEGATIVE, am also Indian National, we are TEMPORARY ONLY here.

  9. Get rid?

    Are they pests? Nuisance? Disease? Parasites? HAVE THEY NOT BEEN PART AND CONTRIBUTORS of successes and achievements???

  10. Is it including physician and nurses and doctors, in which ministry there are such huge number of expats, may be education and health, headline is humiliating in any case

  11. Extremely humiliating headline.
    I agree with job nationalization but saying “Get rid of expats” seriously humiliating.

    • Agreed totally…. The expatriates didn’t encroach by themselves, they are here because you hired, and they will leave whenever you tell them to leave. But the language used reflects the arrogance and ungrateful attitude… I’m sure the language is manipulated by the translator.

  12. Expats are hired through a process and as per labour law…they dont enforce themselves…

    I wish the saudi society becomes more engaged and starts to “work” to achieve vision 2030 and NTP 2020…
    May ALLAH swt fulfill your goals…
    Best of luck…with you all the way…..

  13. Get rid is not an appropriate word. We are the big contributors to the success of this country and they must admit it…

  14. It is the responsibility of the country to find opportunities for their people but need to be respectful to the expats who contributed to build the Kingdom.

    • Thank you for your services, we beleive you were paid for your services all those years! Thats how you build properties in your country. It’s time you should go back and relax there. We are mide of crisis, we need to feed our peoples first!

      • Alhamdulillah brother , we have got a lot from this country & contributed a lot as well because we love this country as being Muslims & I wish & hope that they will achieve what is good for the country & people of this country…. May Allah fulfill all their good wishes … Allah(s.w.t) knows best

      • Our people, seriously?.. are all muslims not our people… was Salman Farsi Radiallahu anhu (from Persia) and Bilal RadiAllahu anhu (from Abyssinia) not “our people” for the muslims who live in the same land sometime ago…. or they were treated as expatriates and told “you were paid for your services all those years, go back now”..??…
        Is this how we follow the sunnah of the Prophet sallallahu alaihi wa sallam.

      • I would love to see Saudia working in every field including Baldia, cleaning toilets, working as maids, drivers, and of course as MUDEERS ! This will be truly Islamic coz our religion tells us that all work is dignified. Hope u dont hire any expats after that!

      • Saudi families are not facing any kind of crisis. It’s always been the foreigners who were suffering and still are. Go get saudi maids and drivers. Go get saudi janitors and petrol station attendants and then you can say what you want.

  15. One can dream anything in his luxurious office room. Really is bitter. The word getting rid of ones employee without any mistake is in itself against the teaching of islam. Its easy to say than to achieve cos man proposes God disposes.

    • They r not talking about the order …point is rough language of news paper ….We r here by the will of Allah and we will go by Allah .

  16. It sounds abusive…Get rid off….without expats there cannot be anything good…..plz learn to give respect and take respect

  17. Though someone translated it in English..but i am sure they would have used the same equivalent word in Arabic….I don’t expact any good from them

  18. These are the Saudis who come to our country and recruit us promising lucrative salaries and working environment. Receive us at the airports as well. We are their need not they are ours. Every country has to give priority to her country mens. But these are the expatriates who work hard and earn money but provide services to Saudis in health, education and business in return.

  19. Its a part of belive of a muslim that his sustenance and wealth ( his rizq) is given to him by Allah. Well let’s pray for everyone that Allah helps and mercy the day when we came to saudi to till date have spend a very good time Alhumdulillah, and get so many things which we never assume and deserve in this life. So now it’s a time to prepare our self to looks forward happily without any complaints and depression. with lots of thanks to Allah and thanks to this country also. and I pray to Allah that Allah save and protect this country till the end of this world…Aameen ya rub.

  20. Like many of you have pointed out, yes it is the translator who is at fault for not picking the appropriate words to define the Arabic statement of the minister. Further, this blessed country and it’s people have hired us for a purpose and should they feel that our task is complete, it is their choice whether to have us or ask us to leave. Rizk is from almighty Allah, if not here then somewhere else that is destined for us. So, Alhamdulillah and let us be ready to take over the new assignment Allah has kept for us expats. There is no such thing as our contribution for their development, if not us somebody else would have done it, but it is just that Allah kept our rizk here, and still it is there. When the rizk here is over, it will be time to say bye bye. Jazakallah khair Saudi Arabia.

  21. Poor journalism. Getting rid of expats indicates negative attitude towards them for all these successful years. Furthermore, nationalizing public sector should not propel present public sector employees to live in dismay. They should be properly placed according to their skills, qualifications and experience elsewhere without compromising the vacancies for the deserved in the private sector alone.

  22. Minister is right, get rid of all expats, lets make Saudi Arabia great again!
    Saudi peoples now are capable of handling everything themself.

    • Get rid of? Seriously? Are expats pests or something? Expats work here because the country needs expat worker for their capabilities. They do get paid but that doesn’t mean if Saudi Arabia is finally capable to handle everything themselves you would want to “get rid of them”. Isn’t Saudi Arabia great already with all the infrastructure,medical contribution from expats?

    • Shame on you! You think that expats made your country lazy? Think again please. We expats helped to developed your country. We contributed and shaped the kingdom. Dont blame expats for your failures. Saudi Arabia isnt great before the expats arrived, we made it great for the future arabs to continue. How about a thank you? Arabs are not greater than non-Arabs nor non-Arabs to Arabs. Please dont use a mean word. I wish Saudi the best of best. For future lads to work on!

    • That was a bit too sarcastic for them to understand, AND why not start with the health sector and why wait till 2020, start NOW.

      • Expats will go but then whom will you blame for everything? Now if anything goes wrong, you have expats to blame it on but after they go whom will you blame everything on? Israel? USA?

    • Yes, the minister is right looking out for the locals and they should be given a priority at all times. However, my friend you cannot deny that there is no nation on earth can be self efficient and they always require some assistance in one sector or another. As mentioned earlier the greatest nation at our time is the US and if you search who is behind their success stories “and I don’t mean politics coz the suck and failed miserably” are immigrants from all over the world. The main thing is to have a system to embed these immigrants or expats in Saudi case to bring the best out of everybody. So getting rid of something is when it is not useful to you anymore and I am sure that these expats have contributed a lot to the kingdom whether you agree or not. So there should be some level of respect to them. I am sure that the Saudi people understand that and it might be time to take over which again understandable. Again no nation can work in silos if they want to advance, compete and be part of this world. I assure you that expats will still be part of your society wether you like it or not and politician know that but they always act according to the current situation and now are tough times for Saudi so the easiest way out is to talk about transferring expat jobs to locals. The question is why it requires three years to do so if the locals are ready then it should be quicker and the news talk about 70,000. Is this really the correct number? I doubt.
      In any case, wish the kingdom and it’s people all the best. At the end, expats do have countries to go back to and at times it could be the right time or not but I can tell you a fact that expats are survivals. If they were able to survive in Saudi they can survive anywhere.

    • First tell the Government to stop issuing Visas. On one side they want Expat free country and at the same time they are issuing thousands of visa every day. I appreciate the young Saudis and their will to work but don’t compare yourself with Expats as it will take another 10-20 years for you to reach their level, that’s too if you work little hard.

  23. To all commentors,
    Stop critising laws, country and decision makers. Live with whatever senerio comes or leave it if you have some level of respect rather than complaining!

    • Dear Hassan, no one is criticizing the law of the country. Expect very much respect the nation and its law, and wish the nation best for today’s scenario and forever. The only concern here is the ungrateful and ignorant attitude depicted by the translator.

    • Show at least some level of respect for those who contributed in building of this nation…..

  24. Racist move it sounds like. So Saudi wishes to only have Saudi’s working there? Imagine a “Western” country getting rid of people who aren’t 100% “western” in religion and culture.

  25. To all Muslims who are crying and almost cursing the minister.

    First of all, Razzaq is Allah swt Alone. This should be our core belief from bottom of heart, not just word of mouth.

    Second, we are here as expatriates not immigrants so expats one day, sooner or later, have to return.

    Third, let us all plan our return before it is planned by anyone else – be it public sector or private sector employees hiring expats will be significantly discouraged. Every country is always first for its citizen so no crying over it.

  26. Well every country has right to think about their country development and success I would say best of luck to their vision and wish they succeed because today or later tomorrow each one of us switch their jobs and talent didn’t need any beg or sources for job and they will get their job upon their experiences and qualifications

  27. Expatriates made America great. Now Germany is taking in and absorbing foreigners and will soon be a great nation

  28. To me by 2020, it seems impossible. 100percent impossible. It’s possible in some fields.

  29. Expats have contributed many things in this country and it’s not right to use improper words for them … !!!

  30. Agree with the vision of kingdom to have a such a plan if its kind to move on nationalization. We, expats have done marvelous works in building and transforming a kingdom of past to a kingdom of present and enlightenment to future. But now since it’s their call, we must respect their requirements as they are in middle of a crisis. Thanks for the support till these time that were bestowed upon expats. Kingdom is one of the best nation that keep up and provide shelter to all kind of people irrespective of caste creed color and religion.#Respect.
    At this moment we wish kingdom a very bright future and let their vision work well through out. Let Almighty guide them in all the good moves that is benefiting for all kind of labor force in future, for enlightening future of kingdom.

    • That was a very mature, dignified, respectful response sir. That is the power of Positivity. God bless you.

  31. I do not agree with using verb “get rid” because it is inhumane. We say in English get rid of rubbish and not people.

  32. Get Rid…What the hell are you saying. Who asked you to employ them? You did yourself. So, the way they were employed, they should be sent back to their countries in the same respected way. What does GET RID OF means…So disturbing to hear

  33. I dont think they will…how about those who are working in a hospitals like nurses…most of the nurses in saudi are foreigners how can u manage to take care of those patients without the help of foreigners..

  34. Get rid of expatriates. ….are we insects? …for sure, you could use a better word instead.

  35. He said Government Jobs not ALL frean jobs… So that means exapts working in the private sector can still keep their jobs. Stop over reacting.

  36. I spent my entire life in Saudi Arabia from the time I was born to the time I turned 17 and could think of no other place to call home. I always knew that this society I adopted was steeped in prejudice against me as a foreigner but there always existed a contradiction wherein the religion made us feel as one, but policy and nationalism made us realize we were not. It is the sad reality that each expatriate who has called Saudi home has had to face…it can never be our home. home is Canada…where I am equal to the “local”. Where there is no 220 vs 110. I have every right as does the most “authentic” Canadian. I believe this nationalization process is in the best interest of Saudis for the short term…but the role of this land was to be a home for all Muslims…it could have been the United States of the Muslim world which was its destiny…but perhaps not in our lifetimes…perhaps never

  37. Instead of saying all expats should be rid of, the ministry should say “Saudi citizens will develop the skills and attitude to perform both management and non management jobs in the government sector to meet the needs of the country by 2020”.

  38. Globally, no country can get rid of expats, unless the country by itself is self content. Unfortunately not. There exist an element called “Talent Acquisition”. Businessmen & Professionals in each nation strive to implement & develop in this area to move businesses to greater heights.

    That said, simply merely stating “No expats” from 2020… means the Leadership should start focusing on in house talents of itz countrymen… which predominantly starts with quality education from basics… .

  39. That’s why I left Saudi in 2005 after working 5 yrs in MOH. Why should we give our valuable life time & services to those who are ignoring us… I never regret leaving.

  40. Why So much of Drama… If government wants only saudies in their work force. Please stop issuing any more new visa’s & inform all the expatriates to leave with in five years.. MAX .. Drama in Papers & new requirement of visa in the other..

  41. So ksa needs to produce enough doctors, engineers, teachers, Barbars, mechanics,plumbers. Is that possible in three years?

  42. Excuse me, one more point. This performance may discourage the non- Muslims to join Islam.
    What we present sometimes so far from what should be. We can apply all our forces but with justice and respectfulness.

  43. This is their country and if it our time to say “MASALAMAH”, let’s embrace it with open arms. After all, we already have our fair share with this country – the wealth, the experience and the memories that we will cherish with. TRUST IN HIM for HE once said, the harvest is plenty. When one door closes, another window will open.

  44. Expats once leave their soil can move to other soil and get better ones!!
    But working in fields , mental work, laborious job,working in baldia all need to be saudize fast!!! Amusing!!

  45. Is it feasible to live in Saudi anymore?
    YES for labor class and NO for educated. The law of Preferences says that the dignity and justice are far more important than merely the income. The labor class can still continue bearing humiliation to secure the job but it is different and opposite in the case of educated class……

  46. The lagal Expats are assets of this country they honestly share thier part in development of KSA.. never mind in the other hand its a duty and right of nationals to represent KSA by them and take the country to the heights which is dreaming by whole nation… its a good start… expats welcoming this process… but no one hurt each other by harsh wordings nor writings., by the way expats are well wisher of country and to nationals… God bless Saudi Arabia.

  47. We should not OVER REACT. Am also Indian and working here. if the Government of Saudia need to remove EXPATRIATES from Government Sector and if they find suitable replacement of SAUDI NATIONAL, they should proceed with. We are here on TEMPORARY BASIS only, and one day we should get back to our Country, with regard to SURVIVAL its in the hands of ALLAH THE EXALTED, and the amount of EEMAN what u have.


  48. Calm down everybody. The article language structure is very basic and primary. You cannot be skeptical of Author’s intentions, its only a language proficiency issue.

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