Saudi Arabia: Bogus builders hired to fill work quotas

  • 18 February 2014
Foreign construction workers in Riyadh
Image caption The Saudi construction industry is dominated by foreign workers

Thousands of people - including women - have been hired as bogus builders in Saudi Arabia so that companies can meet government targets requiring them to hire local workers before taking on foreigners, it seems.

One young man told the Saudi Gazette a company gave him 1,500 rials (£240) per month to stay at home, simply to fulfil their "Saudisation quota".

Meanwhile, recruitment consultant Bandar al-Dhabaan told the paper: "How can anyone believe that there are thousands of Saudi women employed in the construction and contracting sector when Saudi men cannot find jobs in these industries?"

Business leaders admit that exploiting the loophole is bad for the economy and does nothing to help Saudi Arabia's legions of unqualified, unemployed young people.

One businessman, Dawood al-Esaimi said the problem is that local companies are not willing to train their new recruits. "Give me a suitable replacement that has the necessary qualification and experience and I will stop recruiting expatriates," Al-Esaimi said.

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