Foreign Workers in Saudi Arabia
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Foreign Workers in Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia’s Central Department of Statistics & Information estimated the foreign population at the end of 2014 at 33% (10.1 million). The CIA Factbook estimated that as of 2013 foreign nationals living in Saudi Arabia made up about 21% of the population. Other sources report differing estimates. Indian: 1.3 million, Pakistani: 1.5 million, Egyptian: 900,000, Yemeni: 800,000, Bangladeshi: 500,000, Filipino: 500,000, Jordanian/Palestinian: 260,000, Indonesian: 250,000, Sri Lankan: 350,000, Sudanese: 250,000, Syrian: 100,000 and Turkish: 100,000. There are around 100,000 Westerners in Saudi Arabia, most of whom live in compounds or gated communities.
Foreign Muslims who have resided in the kingdom for ten years may apply for Saudi citizenship. (Priority is given to holders of degrees in various scientific fields, and exception made for Palestinians who are excluded unless married to a Saudi national, because of Arab League instructions barring the Arab states from granting them citizenship.) Saudi Arabia is not a signatory to the 1951 UN Refugee Convention.
As Saudi population grows and oil export revenues stagnate, pressure for “Saudization” (the replacement of foreign workers with Saudis) has grown, and the Saudi government hopes to decrease the number of foreign nationals in the country. Saudi Arabia expelled 800,000 Yemenis in 1990 and 1991 and has built a Saudi–Yemen barrier against an influx of illegal immigrants and against the smuggling of drugs and weapons. In November 2013, Saudi Arabia expelled thousands of illegal Ethiopian residents from the Kingdom. Various Human Rights entities have criticised Saudi Arabia’s handling of the issue. Over 500,000 undocumented migrant workers — mostly from Somalia, Ethiopia, and Yemen — have been detained and deported since 2013.
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“Saudi Arabia”. The World Factbook. Central Intelligence Agency.
جريدة الرياض. “جريدة الرياض : سكان المملكة 27 مليوناً بينهم 8 ملايين مقيم”. Alriyadh.com.
“Number of Pakistani expats exceeds 1.5 m”. Arabnews.com. 29 August 2012.
“Arab versus Asian migrant workers in the GCC countries” (PDF). p. 10.
Articles 12.4 and 14.1 of the Executive Regulation of Saudi Citizenship System: “1954 Saudi Arabian Citizenship System” (PDF).
2004 law passed by Saudi Arabia’s Council of Ministers. “Expatriates Can Apply for Saudi Citizenship in Two-to-Three Months”. Arabnews.com. 14 February 2005.
“Saudi Arabia says criticism of Syria refugee response ‘false and misleading'”. The Guardian. 12 September 2015.
P.K. Abdul Ghafour (21 October 2011)”3 million expats to be sent out gradually”. Archived from the original on 8 November 2011. Retrieved 2015-02-24. : “Nearly three million expatriate workers will have to leave the Kingdom in the next few years as the Labor Ministry has put a 20% ceiling on the country’s guest workers”
“Yemen’s point of no return”. The Guardian. 1 April 2009.
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“Saudi Arabia: Amnesty International calls for end to arrests and expulsions « Persecution of Ahmadiyya Muslim Community”. Persecutionofahmadis.org.
“‘Dogs Are Better Than You’: Saudi Arabia Accused of Mass Abuses During Migrant Worker Crackdown”. Vice News. 11 May 2015.