Saudi Arabia: Saudiazation with so many Foreign Workers



As of 2012 there were more than two million foreign workers throughout the Kingdom.  This figure includes expatriates who are in executive level jobs to domestic workers and laborers.  However, the Kingdom is cracking down rapidly and strongly against foreign workers in the Kingdom in its effort to have many of these positions filled instead by unemployed Saudis.  The present unemployment rate of Saudis is 12.5 percent in spite of many of the Saudis having received higher education or technical training.

Most foreign workers in professional sectors are in the Kingdom because they have a skill or expertise that the Kingdom is unable to fulfill with a Saudi national.  However, Saudi Arabia has recognized they must build up their own indigenous workforce and are positioning Saudis to receive skills and expertise presently unavailable in the Kingdom through foreign scholarships abroad with the intent to ultimately replace many expatriate workers.

In the past six years, Saudi Arabia, under the auspices of King Abdullah, has greatly expanded educational opportunities inside the Kingdom within its medical and educational sectors.  There are now multiple universities where Saudis can receive training and education to become physicians, nurses, technicians and educators in a board spectrum of fields.

Although more challenging to fill due to the type of work, Saudi Arabia is making efforts to have Saudis work in positions as drivers or laborers.  Some Saudi women are taking domestic positions as well but they do remain a very small minority due to cultural resistance.

At the same time, the pool of now illegal and unemployed foreign workers in the Kingdom gets bigger each day.   This is in part to either employers terminating contracts with foreign workers and to a degree, due to some Saudis who sponsored expatriates into the Kingdom as their own money making scheme.  In this case, a Saudi would sponsor some expatriate workers who would find their own jobs, usually as drivers, and would pay the Saudi a fee each month for the sponsorship.  Jawazat (entity which controls the iqama residence permit) has been aggressively cracking down on expatriates who have overstayed after their employment has been terminated in addition to the expatriates who have been operating in the Kingdom as “freelancers.”

American Bedu has seen an increase in emails from expatriates who are employed but remaining in the Kingdom.  These individuals all ask for help in finding another job stating that they are responsible for supporting their family back in their home country and that there are less employment opportunities back in their home countries.

It’s a catch-22 in a sense.  It is understandable that Saudi Arabia wants to be more independent and less reliant on foreign help.  Naturally the Kingdom would like to see the funds of the salaries remain in the Kingdom too, supporting the local economy.  Yet it is also easy to feel sympathy for the expatriate workers who came to the Kingdom seeing an opportunity to rise the standard of living for their family back in their home country.

In closing this post, American Bedu is sharing three videos which all depict the fear expatriates feel when they hear the dreaded announcement, “Jawazat.”  (please note – video three is a spoof and pure humor)



Saudi Arabia: Expatriate Housing Decisions Made by Employer

saudi apt bldg


There seems to be a greater trend now among Saudi Employers in the Education Sector for the desire to have the expatriate employees consolidated.  In the past, expatriate employees were either assigned housing in an apartment or small villa or perhaps received a housing allowance and found their own housing. If expatriates had to share an apartment or villa, they were generally matched on being from the same region.

However, newer schools and universities are now having their own apartment building built next to the facility.  This is certainly convenient for the employer knowing that all employees are close by to the facility but it does not take into consideration cultural aspects or practicalities.

Like most employees, teachers do not want to live near the same place as they are working.  They need that break and separation.  It is important to have neighbors who are not colleagues.

One new school plans for all of its employees to live in the same apartment building – married, single, male, female, Saudi, expatriates, muslim and non-muslim.  In a place like Saudi Arabia where the culture is more restrictive and modest, a hodge podge of nationalities, cultures and religions can easily lead to conflicts.

A single Saudi woman may eagerly want the job as a teacher but could face strong family and tribal reaction if she were to live in the same building as unrelated non-Muslim men.

While in other places Muslims and non-Muslims can live easily side-by-side, the culture and traditions of Saudi Arabia make this more challenging.  At the end of a workday, a non-Muslim western expatriate would likely want to put on shorts and t-shirt, turn on some familiar music and relax without worrying what his/her Muslim colleagues next door might think.

Saudi Arabia is not the place where you intermix colleagues who are single, married, with or without children, or practicing different faiths in the same facility.

Ideally, there should be separate buildings for single men, single women and families or provide these employees with their own housing allowance.  Don’t consolidate them all into one large apartment building as presently proposed.

Nb:  American Bedu is aware of a specific educational facility whose housing plans are as described.  However, the name of the facility can’t be disclosed.


Saudi Arabia: Want Saudi Nationality? You Must Have the Points!


Prior to applying for Saudi citizenship, a foreign woman married to a Saudi must have a marriage which is legally recognized by the Saudi government.  While Saudis are not forcibly permitted from marrying who they want, they can not bring a foreign wife into the Kingdom unless the marriage has been approved and she is legally recognized by the Saudi government as his wife.

Foreign women who are married to a Saudi can receive Saudi nationality.  In some cases they must give up their home country nationality and in some other cases, they can maintain dual citizenship.  Since this is not an across the board decision among all countries, a foreign woman should check with her home country embassy to find out if her country will still recognize her citizenship if she takes on Saudi citizenship.

However, getting Saudi citizenship is not an easy or small process.  The Ministry of Interior established a process towards determining whether an individual qualified for citizenship back in 1954.

The key issues and requirements at that time were as follows:

Twenty First Article Granting the Saudi Citizenship to the foreign wife of a Saudi Citizen takes place by the Decision of the Minister:of Interior according to Article (16) of the system if she applied and if the following conditions are applicable:


  • 1 Carrying out the legal marriage relationship.
  • 2 If the wife renounced her original nationality to a judge or a notary.
  • 3 If the marriage is according to the statutory regulations of marriage between a Saudi Citizen and a foreigner.
  • 4 The wife must submit a report that she was never sentenced to a criminal or ethical judgment.
  • 5 There must be no comments by the concerned authorities regarding the wife.
  • 6 The wife must be a resident inside the Kingdom.
  • 7 The marriage duration must be 5 years as minimum. However, applicants who do not conform to this condition may be considered if some or all of the following conditions are applicable



The rest of it shows ways a foreign wife can become a citizen without being married 5 years and it’s all about if she has been born in the Kingdom, or her mother or father was born in the Kingdom. There is no mention of work or college.


That was then.  It is nowhere as straightforward or simplified now.  Instead it is based on a point system and the foreign wife requires a minimum number of 17 points before she will be considered a candidate for citizenship.  As evidenced by the requirements to obtain points, the system favors the non-Western foreign wife. Points are accumulated as follows:


  • 2 points for each child not to exceed four points.
  • 1 point for each year she has lived in the Kingdom (following the official marriage approval) not to exceed 12 points.
  • 2 points if she holds a Bachelor’s degree or higher.
  • 2 points if one or more of her relatives already has Saudi nationality.
  • 2 points if the wife was born in the Kingdom.
  • 2 points if she was a resident in the Kingdom prior to her marriage.


The application for citizenship is rejected if the woman has not had any children with her Saudi husband.


Following is the official document from the Ministry of Interior (in Arabic) with the current requirements to apply for Saudi citizenship:


 صدرت موافقة صاحب السمو الملكي الأمير نايف بن عبد العزيز آل سعود ولي العهد نائب رئيس مجلس الوزراء وزير

الداخلية على تعديل مادتين من مواد اللائحة التنفيذية لنظام الجنسية العربية السعودية.

وأوضح المتحدث الرسمي للأحوال المدنية محمد بن جاسر الجاسر , أن التعديلات الجديدة على اللائحة التنفيذية لنظام

الجنسية العربية السعودية اشتملت على تعديل المادة 7 من اللائحة التنفيذية التي تتعلق بالمادة 8 من نظام الجنسية

السعودية الخاصة بالمولودين في المملكة لأب أجنبي وأم سعودية , وتعديل الفقرة 6 من المادة 12 من اللائحة التنفيذية التي

تتعلق بالمادة 26 من نظام الجنسية الخاصة بمنح الجنسية العربية السعودية للمرأة الأجنبية المتزوجة من سعودي.

وقال الجاسر: “إن التعديلات نشرت في الجريدة الرسمية أمس الاول وإنه تم إبلاغ فروع الأحوال المدنية بمناطق المملكة

للعمل بالتعديلات الجديدة.

وفيما يلي نص التعديلات:-

أولا: التعديل على المادة 7 من اللائحة التنفيذية جاء على النحو التالي: “في ضوء ما يقدمه صاحب الطلب من معلومات يتم

تقييم طلبه من لجنة مكونة من ادارة التجنس في فرع الأحوال المدنية في المنطقة من خلال خمسة عناصر موزعة على

النحو التالي:-

. إذا كانت إقامته دائمة في المملكة عند بلوغه سن الرشد فيحصل على نقطة واحدة.

. إذا كان يحمل مؤهلا دراسيا لا يقل عن الشهادة الثانوية فيحصل على نقطة واحدة.

. إذا كان والد الأم وجدها لأبيها سعوديين فيحصل على ست نقاط.

. إذا كان والدها فقط سعودي الجنسية فيحصل على نقطتين.

. إذا كان لصاحب الطلب أخ أو أخت فأكثر سعوديين يحصل على نقطتين.

إذا حصل صاحب الطلب على سبع نقاط كحد أدنى توصي اللجنة بالمضي في دراسة طلبه، وإن لم يحصل على هذا الحد فترفع

اللجنة توصية بحفظ طلبه مع إفهام صاحب الطلب بذلك”.

ثانياً: تعديل الفقرة ) 6 ( من المادة 12 من اللائحة التنفيذية جاء على النحو التالي:-

“في ضوء ما تقدمه صاحبة الطلب من معلومات يتم تقييم طلبها من لجنة مكونة من إدارة التجنس في فرع الأحوال المدنية

في المنطقة من خلال ستة عناصر موزعة على النحو التالي:-

. إذا كان واحداً أو أكثر من أقاربها سعودي ) الأب أو الأم أو الأخ ( فتحصل على نقطتين.

. إذا كانت مولودة في المملكة فتحصل على نقطتين.

. إذا كانت تحمل مؤهلا دراسيا لا يقل عن الشهادة الجامعية فتحصل على نقطتين.

. إذا كانت مقيمة في المملكة لمدة لا تقل عن عشر سنوات متتالية قبل تاريخ الزواج فتحصل على نقطتين.

. عن كل سنة تمضي بعد موافقة الجهة المختصة على الزواج تحصل على نقطة واحدة بحد أعلى إثنى عشرة نقطة.

. إذا أنجبت مولوداً واحداً تحصل على نقطتين وفي حال أنجبت مولودين فأكثر تحصل على أربع نقاط، وفي حال عدم الإنجاب

من سعودي لا ينظر في طلب منحها الجنسية السعودية.

إذا حصلت صاحبة الطلب على سبع عشرة نقطة فتوصي اللجنة بالمضي في دراسة طلبها، وإن لم تحصل فيتم إفهامها بعدم

حصولها على الحد الأدنى من النقاط المطلوبة”.

Saudi Arabia: Hippocratic Oath – Ethical or Compassionate

hippocratic oath


The decision of a Saudi judge to order the surgical paralysis of a 24 year old Saudi man as retribution for an incident that occurred ten years ago has made global headlines.  The majority of the World is outraged by the inhumane decision of this judge.

At the same time, there is another case pending in Saudi courts where an accident victim wants to see the guilty party surgically paralyzed rather than accept the six million SAR she had been offered as retribution.  However, the Jeddah judge who heard this case deferred on a ruling and instead urged the woman to accept the “blood money.”

Not only do these two incidents raise questions on the authority and boundaries of Saudi judges but the issue goes beyond what is viewed as just in the case of an “eye for an eye.”

While one judge made a ruling which basically sanctioned the surgical paralysis of a human being, doesn’t such a directive contradict the international Hippocratic Oath taken by all physicians?

“The Hippocratic Oath is an oath historically taken by physicians and other healthcare professionals swearing to practice medicine ethically and honestly.  It requires a new physician to swear upon a number of healing gods that he will uphold a number of professional ethical standards.”

How could a doctor who has taken the oath to preserve life willingly agree to surgical paralyze an individual?

This also brings up questions about other practices which continue to take place in Saudi Arabia.  A thief may have his right hand removed.  Other charges may result in amputation of both a hand and a foot.  In cases of murder, narcotics, heinous crimes and even proselytizing, the penalty can be death by beheading.  In all of these cases, a physician is involved.  When the accused is expected to survive the punishment, such as an amputation, a physician will administer anesthesia and drugs to prevent infection.  In the case of an execution, the accused is administered drugs to not only dull the pain or reality of what is happening but to make the accused more docile when the act of beheading is carried out.

In such cases, would the physicians role be categorized as ethical or compassionate?

Saudi Arabia/World: American Bedu Has Received More Than 5 Million Visitors!!!

5 million

It gives American Bedu the greatest pleasure to announce that the blog has received more than 5 Million visitors since its inception in 2006:

Visitors Stats

  • 5,002,360 hits (as of 2000 hours EST)

I wish to thank each and every one of YOU for visiting and being a part of the American Bedu blog family.

In honor of this milestone, American Bedu would love to hear what keeps YOU coming back to American Bedu; what have been some of your favorite posts on American Bedu and what can American Bedu do to continue to improve the quality and blogging experience for you.


Saudi Arabia: Surgical Paralysis – It’s All Up to the Judges

surgical paralysis


A Saudi judge has sentenced a 24 year old Saudi man to surgical paralysis if he can’t raise US$270,000 towards blood money for the aggrieved family.  This ruling stems back to an incident which occurred ten years old when Ali Al-Khawahir, who was only 14 years old at the time, had an altercation with a childhood friend.  Al-Khawahir, in his anger and rage, stabbed the friend in the back with a knife which resulted in the friend being paralyzed from the waist down.

At the time of the crime, the friend and his family demanded 1,000,000 SAR in blood money as retribution.  Al-Khawahir’s family had no access to such a vast amount and Al-Khawahir was imprisoned instead.

It is not clear why the ruling to now inflict surgical paralysis has been raised in this current date and time.  Al-Khawahir has already spent ten of his most formulative years of his life in prison.

The fact that a Saudi court has ruled in favor of surgical paralysis on Al-Khawahir for an incident which occurred ten years ago now makes one wonder about what the future will hold for another young Saudi man.  A Saudi woman refused retribution of six million SAR when she became paralyzed in an accident which was found to be the fault of the young Saudi man.  Instead, she requested that the man who paralyzed her in turn be surgically paralyzed.  However, the ruling judge in Jeddah requested the woman reconsider and deferred on making a verdict.

It is the opinion of American Bedu that neither individually will be surgically paralyzed.  In the case of Al-Khawahir since a sum of money is involved, it is highly likely a benefactor will come forward and pay the amount on his family’s behalf.

However, both of these cases due question the legitimacy, boundaries and authorities of Saudi judges.  One judge made it obvious he was against such a demand and another judge ruled that it was “okay.”  While the Quran may cite “an eye for an eye,” the true practice of Islam is to be kind and forgiving.

Saudi Arabia: Home Stay and Message to the Saudi Student

Homestay Outdoors


The largest numbers ever of Saudi students are studying outside of the Kingdom at Universities around the world.  The students (and their spouse when applicable) receive not only funds for their tuition and books but they also receive a generous stipend which covers accommodations, cost of living and transport.  Some students choose to have their own apartment or rent a house, especially if they are married.  Others may choose to have a room in a “Home Stay.”

Saudi students come initially to the host country for English language training and post-secondary education.  They usually understand the English language better than they speak it.  Homestay offers the students an excellent opportunity to develop and practice their conversational skills, as well as to experience the culture of the host country in a friendly family setting.

Host families are expected to provide the students with reasonable daily requirements.  Each student should have a private room with adequate furnishings.  He/she should be treated as a member of the family, sharing meals and participating in the family’s routine and social activities.  The student should have reasonable access to all the household facilities.

In other words, the Saudi student is taken into the HOME of a family in the country where they have chosen to study.  This family opens up not only the doors of their home to the student but allows the student to enter into their life as well.  This is an HONOR and PRIVELEDGE to the student and an enriching experience providing insights into the host country that a student would not otherwise receive.  Most host families will do everything in their capacity to make the Saudi student feel welcomed.  It’s not unusual for a host family to have a prayer rug and Quran in the student’s room.  The host family usually wants to and is strongly encouraged to also learn about the customs and traditions of Saudi Arabia from the student.  It is an excellent exchange opportunity.

However, it is also expected that the student will abide by any house rules that his or her host have set in place.  The student is also expected to be mannerly, clean and polite.  The Saudi student needs to view their home stay as if they are staying with family and always show the family proper respect and courtesy.

Due to the increased number of Saudi students abroad and those who are utilizing a home stay option, there have been increased complaints about the attitude and manners of some Saudi students.

It is expected that home stay students will be responsible for the cleanliness of their room and wash room.  They may be asked to help out with setting or clearing the table or even doing dishes.  If they do their own cooking outside of family meal times, they are expected to clean up after themselves and leave the kitchen as it was before they prepared their meal.  If meals are usually eaten with the family, the student is expected to let the family know when he or she will be absent or late.  If a curfew is set, the student is to abide it.  A student should not have friends over and especially late at night without clearing it first with the home stay host.

Thompson Rivers University in Canada, which has Saudi students among their international students, has an excellent manual for the home stay host and the home stay student.  Australia hosts many Saudi students in home stays and compiled extensive findings from both the hosts and students to further improve home stay experiences.

Saudi students who disrespect their home stay family and disregard the house rules are creating a bad reputation and jeopardizing opportunities for future Saudi students to have a home stay experience.


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