What’s Trending in Saudi Arabia in February 2020

Saudi Arabia To Axe Sponsorship System in 2020

4th February 2020

The Saudi Kingdom announced in 2020 it is to abolish the dinosaur Kafala sponsorship system of the employment of expat workers.

Soon, foreign workers and their families will no longer be tied to an individual Saudi sponsor or group. Work visas will be based on the terms of employment contracts only.

The move will mean liberalization of the Saudi employment market, greater freedom for foreign workers and make the kingdom much more attractive to investors and outside skilled labor.

Abolishing this 70-year-old system also means that for the first time, expat workers will enjoy unprecedented freedom to act.

For example, they will be able to get exit reentry visas without permission from the Saudi sponsor. Final exits will easily be arranged too. They will also no longer need permission to change jobs. In addition, there will be freedom to arrange family visits to Saudi Arabia.

The change is in response to massive international pressure on the kingdom to end years of black market visa abuses of expat workers by Saudi sponsors for personal financial gain.

However, with the absence of the sponsorship perks and advantages associated with employing foreign workers, businesses and companies are likely to begin hiring more local Saudi nationals.

Together with creeping Saudiization, it will likely result in fewer job opportunities for foreign workers and a possible end of personal benefits that expats currently enjoy such as free accommodation and transport allowances, etc.

The details have yet to be worked out so we will have to wait and see what the changes will actually produce.

Overall though, for the kingdom the change is positive. It will bring it into line with international employment practices and make the country much more attractive to foreign investment and expertise.

It will increase Saudi Arabia’s standing and reputation abroad by putting an end to the entrenched corruption in the labor market.

It will also create a fairer working environment, attract more skilled workers at home and abroad and result in higher productivity and profits.

But, as with every other change in Saudi Arabia, the jury is still out!

Abolition of the sponsorship system is imminent: ReportOpens in a new tab.

US Consulate Celebrate 75 years of US-Saudi Relations

20th February 2020

The US Consulate hold a big party in Dhahran Opens in a new tab.to celebrate 75 years of Saudi-US relationships celebrating meeting between President Franklin Roosevelt and King Abdul Aziz aboard the USS Quincy.

100 Million Visitors To Saudi Arabia By 2030

22nd February 2020

Today 15.5 million visitors are expected to go up 21.3 million visitors to Saudi Arabia by 2024 says Colliers Research Team.Opens in a new tab.

They’ll be Short Break Tourists from the Gulf, Business Travellers doing tourism after work or International Visitors for cultural or sporting events.

The goal is 100 million visitors by 2030. Phew! Religious tourism will be dwarfed by sun, fun and pleasure seekers seeking the amazing landscape and the bundles of tourist type offerings.

Saudi Hotel occupancy is booming. More rooms will be added to 80,000 in Mecca. 16,000 in Jeddah and 12,000 in Riyadh.

Phase One– 2019-2022 tourists just come to see beaches, deserts, mountains and heritage sites.

Phase Two -2022 and beyond will see the development of Giga projects such as NEOm, Red Sea. Qiddiyah etc.

The NEW Al Jofoura Gas Field To Produce $20 Billion Annually for Saudi Coffers

23rd Feb 2020

The Al Jafoura Field in the Eastern Province is 170 km long and 100 km wide. It holds 200 trillion cubic feet of liquid gas and is to be piped for petrochemical production and high-value condensates.

Announced on 20the Feb, investments of $110 billion by Saudi Aramco aim to tap the gas reserves. 40% will be ethane and 60% gas liquids and condensates. Local Saudi electricity, water and desalination, and mining companies will run operations

The field will net $8.6 billion in the first 22 years and $20 billion each year thereafter.

It is going to be really big-making Saudi Arabia one of the most important gas producers in the world. Saudi GazetteOpens in a new tab.

Girl From Mecca Raps How Proud She Is- She Upsets The Nation!

24th Feb 2020

Does the Bint Min Al Makkah upset you? Read the Gulf News article.Opens in a new tab.

27th Feb 2020

Corona Virus Shuts Down Umrah Visas

In an effort to curb the spread of Coronavirus, Saudi Authorities stopped issuing Umrah visas to international pilgrims and closed down its borders to countries affected by the virus.

The ban a temporary one that includes a pilgrimage to the city of Madinah Munawara and a ban on movement between GCC countries using Saudi ID cards.

For details see the article in Arab News in the following link. Opens in a new tab.

The Haram Mosque in Mecca Gets Cleaned and Sprayed For Corona Virus

2nd March 2020

All surfaces at the Holy Mosque have been sprayed and sterilized.Opens in a new tab. News is that one Saudi man has the CoronavirusOpens in a new tab. having visited Iran.

Salam Allekum! Hi there! Thanks for reading. Contact the Editor Mohammed Francis directly at insidesaudia@gmail.com with any questions or queries.