Friday, August 5, 2016

What if Expats in Jeddah and Jubail outnumbered Saudis?

The total number of Expatriates in Saudi Arabia some time overlaps the Saudis in some cities, mainly in Jeddah and Jubail. The estimated population of Jubail and Jeddah shows that the number of non-Saudis in these two cities is above than the population of the Saudis. These statistics have been published by the general public Statistics Department.  The report is published in a local newspaper Al-Watan Arabic daily on Wednesday. According to the report, at the end of the year 2015, the statistics of the population of Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was reached 31.5 million, of which 21.1 million were Saudis, standing at 67 % of the total population, whereas foreigners were at 10.4 million and constituting 33 % of the total population.

In Jubail, there have been 250,000 Saudis and the number of foreigners is 243,000. The statistics in Jeddah are quite high i.e. 1.9 million nationals and 2.13 million non-Saudi population.  According to the source, In Al-Ghat, in capital of Saudi Arabia Riyadh, the population of expatriates was way very close to the number of Saudis, with the difference of just 642 more Saudis here. Mohammad Al Subaei, president of the Ethar Forum for Research and Social Studies, mentioned that the fast increasing number of the expatriates in Jubail and Jeddah was critical and we should seriously think about it. According to him, the high population of the non-Saudis will have many negative effects on the country’s cultural, sociological and economic aspects and progress.

If the number of foreigners increases in the Kingdom, they will bring their own culture which dominates the cultural aspects of Saudi Arabia. At present, the culture of certain expatriates groups is dominating the Saudi traditions in Jubail and it is showed through their food and dressing.  He further added that plans and policies should be made and be included in the 2030 vision of the Kingdom. The policy must be put in place to balance the numbers of expatriates and Saudis, particularly with the launch of Jubail 2 and also the Industrial town in Ras Al-Khair. He emphasizes that the number of the expatriates should be controlled in cities.

Al Subaei has further explained that it is right of people of Jeddah to preserve their individuality and identity. It is their right to protect their city from non-saudis because they could threaten the identity of town. He added that plans should be made to restrict Saudis from mixing up with foreigners coming for work, pilgrimage and Umrah. He warns that if necessary steps will not be taken early then the identity of nationals will slowly disappear.

Saudi Arabia is always been a preferred destination for expats, authorities are concerned as there are more expats in Jubail and Jeddah than Saudis.  Today, this highly increasing number of non-Saudis is an alarm for the Saudi society. Today, to protect the cultural values and the interests of the Saudi nationals, it is important that policies must be made to control the number of expatriates here in Saudi Arabia.

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