Monday, May 02, 2005

Foreign Labor - Al-Watan
GCC countries today find themselves so dependent on foreign laborers that they even allowed these workers to raise their children on behalf of them.

I am not calling on our Gulf countries to fully rely on their citizens to run their affairs. This would be illogical and impossible to achieve. What I call for is for these countries to enforce a policy whereby only the expatriates whose services are highly needed are hired.

A recent crackdown by our security forces on foreigners in the notorious Batha neighborhood of Riyadh led to the arrest of hundreds of people found in violation of the country’s immigration and labor laws and involved in almost every kind of criminal activity as well as the confiscation of tons of illegal material. The result of the campaign should serve as an eye-opener for all of us, especially the Ministry of Labor, which must urgently review its strategies and plans. With the overwhelming majority of those arrested found to be engaged in activities that had nothing to do with the purpose for which they arrived in the country, the ministry must restrict the recruitment of foreign workers allowing only those who are actually needed.

It is worth noting that most of the violations reported in Batha as well as criminal cases published in the press throughout the year were confined to members of a particular nationality.

I have been examining the cases of those arrests in Batha crackdown hoping to find individuals from other nationalities, particularly Filipinos, but couldn’t. This further bolstered my conviction that Filipino workers are among the best that came to Kingdom in search of work over the past 30 years. One thing that characterizes these workers is that they benefit from their presence in a foreign country and equally benefit the country they work in.
Hmmm. But perhaps we could start with raising our own children?

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