Around about 12 years ago, the Saudi Manpower Council had stated that the total number of expatriate or foreign workers and also including their families who are living in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia should not be exceeding around 20 percent or 1/5 of the total population living in the Kingdom. Now it is 2016 and the expatriate population in the Kingdom is still around 1/3 of the total population. The authorities had implemented a zero tolerance policy and also deported tens of thousands of expatriates since 2013 however the number of expatriates has remained more or less the same. This shows that the economic development in the Kingdom is still in need of the talents, skills and expertise of the expatriate workforce
Mr. Hussein Shobokshi wrote a tremendous article “A big thankyou” in which he outlined the contributions made to the society and economy of Saudi Arabia by the expatriates. Shobokshi had suggested that as a token of appreciation, a museum should be dedicated to demonstrating the accomplishments and history of the expatriate population in the Kingdom. He also pointed that this interaction between expats and Saudis which has been going on for decades is truly the first example of an intercultural dialogue. It truly would have been so, only if there was really a two way dialogue between the two communities. However several of the Saudis won’t be able to completely appreciate the expat community unless they face their biases and misconceptions and also challenge them.
In order to garner a positive attitude towards the other and attempt to increase the integration between the residents of Saudi Arabia and the natives, the schools in the Kingdom should be increasing the student’s knowledge on other cultures and religions in order to increase their understanding and respect for them. Additionally social events aimed at promoting dialogue and interaction between the two communities with the help of social centers and social clubs.
The Saudi community can benefit from the actions of their Emirati neighbors who have integrated the local Emiratis and the Expats with the Watani initiative. The Sheikh Mohammed Center for Cultural Understanding has also arranged regular tours of their landmarks for groups of people comprising of a mix of local and expat people. If these sorts of events were held in the Kingdom, the expatriates would feel more at home, learn more about the local culture and heritage which will directly and indirectly benefit both the expatriates and the local population and the Kingdom as a whole too.
The misconceptions amongst the two communities about each other should be confronted and both sides should work on promoting harmony between themselves, especially during a time when all Muslims and Saudis are having to show the real peaceful and loving reality of Islam and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to counter the wrong image painted in the international community by the deviant inhumane terrorists.
Source: Saudi Gazette
Expats vs Saudis
- Why Employers prefer Expatriates over Saudis?
- Why Saudi Arabia would not be the same without Expatriates?
- Why Engineering Profession is monopolized by Expats in Saudi Arabia (85% Engineers are Expats)?
- How deportation of Expats will not create jobs for Saudis?
- Expatriates are successful in Saudi Arabia, but why not Saudis?