PhilEmb on the Saudi Arabia’s Nitaqat System


Blas Ople Foreign Policy Center, 22 June 2011

On the Saudi Arabia’s Nitaqat System

I thank the Blas Ople Center for this opportunity to give a statement on the recent Nitaqat program announced early this month by the Saudi Ministry of Labor and its Minister Engr. Adel Faqih described as an incentive program for nationalization of the workforce.

The announcement of Nitaqat has created some controversy for foreign expatriates in the Kingdom, as well as for those who intend to seek employment in Saudi Arabia.

I think we should look at some of the statements of the Saudi Labor Ministry.

They have stated that the system intends to create more jobs for Saudis, and allow foreign workers greater mobility.

In a statement, the Ministry that “the Nitaqat is not designed nor intended to threaten the stability of guest workers in the Kingdom,” adding that the robust demand for foreign labor is not going away in the foreseeable future.

 The statement added that “the Ministry of Labor recognizes the role played — and continues to be played — by guest workers in the development of the country and appreciates their efforts in all fields and specialties”.

Private sector companies have been given until 11 September to comply with minimum requirements for Saudization and to correct their status, before the Nitaqat system would be implemented.

Indeed, there is greater mobility for foreign workers under Nitaqat. Under the new policy, foreign workers employed by companies that are not in compliance with the country’s Saudization quotas (categorized as “red” and “yellow” companies under Nitaqat) are free to work for companies in compliance (known as “green” companies) without acquiring permission from their employers at non-complying companies.

From the public statement on Nitaqat, it is clear that the system is complex and needs further study and scrutiny.

Here at the Embassy, we have not yet received official information from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs or the Ministry of Labor on the Nitaqat system. I have tasked the Labor Attache Albert Valenciano to meet with officials of the Ministry of Labor to seek more details on the effects of Nitaqat on the employment of Filipinos here in the Kingdom, especially those who have been in the kingdom for many years. We will advise Filipinos here on any information we receive from the host government.

However, Nitaqat comes as a reminder to all of us that overseas work in any single country is not permanent. It also reminds us that should take advantage of our deployment overseas to save our income and invest for the future. It also encourages foreign workers to enhance skills and competitiveness compared to others.

In the near future, the Embassy in coordination with the Philippine Overseas Labor Office and other attached services and with the cooperation of the Filipino community shall try to offer more frequent seminars on financial literacy and entrepreneurship. We must be able to plan for the future.

Mabuhay po kayo! Salamat sa organizers ng forum at sa Blas Ople Center.


7 thoughts on “PhilEmb on the Saudi Arabia’s Nitaqat System

  1. sir, ask lng po ako kung ano ang dapat gawin kase po ang visa namin ay katulong pero trabaho namin beautician, den ung visa namin ay nakapangalan sa asawa ng amo namin na lalaki kya ngkahiwalay na sila at both side nag asawa na, den ngaun gusto ng amo namin na exit kmi para matungo sa pangalan nya ang new visa, ask ko lng kung wala bang magiging problema? at gaano kaya kmi katagal bago makabalik uli if padalhan kmi ng new visa. thanks! hope to reply soon

    • Mariz,

      Siguradohin mo lang na hindi katulong ang inyong visa dahil bawala na pong tumanggap ng katulong galing sa Pinas ang mga SAudi. Kahit pa ang totoo ay beautician kayo pag domestic helper ang visa hindi na ito aasikasohin ng POEA.

      Pero kung Beautician ang inyong visa, maaari kayong makabalik sa KSA kaagad pero depende rin po yan kung gaano kabilis mag proseso ng dokumento ang inyong recruitment agency.



  2. Nitaqat: Red-label companies given Nov. 26 deadline
    Published: Jun 28, 2011 23:41 Updated: Jun 29, 2011 00:07

    RIYADH: The Ministry of Labor will start implementing the third phase of the new Nitaqat system that aims to improve employment opportunities for Saudis on Nov. 26 (Muharram 1).

    This phase involves taking punitive measures against those companies in the “red” category at the end of a six-month grace period extended to them, said Ahmad Al-Humaidan, undersecretary for workers’ affairs at the ministry.

    “Punitive measures against companies classified in the ‘yellow’ category will be effective from the first day of Rabi Al-Thani next year (Feb. 23) at the end of a nine-month grace period. The grace period was given to the companies to improve their status by hiring more Saudis before they face punitive measures,” he said.

    Al-Humaidan was speaking at a meeting of businessmen at the Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Riyadh on Monday.

    The meeting was part of a series of meetings and tours involving top officials of the ministry to shed light on the major features of the Nitaqat system as well as to answer questions from businessmen with regard to its compliance, Al-Eqtisadiah business daily reported.

    Al-Humaidan reiterated the ministry’s keenness in implementing the system in an effective and just manner.

    “The first phase of the system that we had started implementing on June 11 involves classification of the companies and giving them a three-month period for improving their Saudization status. The second phase of implementation will begin on Sept. 10, when companies meeting their required Saudization quotas will start enjoying a number of special benefits,” he said, while stressing that the Nitaqat system was only one of the initiatives taken by the ministry to intensify the Saudization drive.

    Under the Nitaqat system, companies are to be labeled “green,” “yellow” or “red” depending on the level of Saudis working for them. Companies in the “yellow” category will not be able to extend their foreign employees’ work visas beyond six years while “red” companies will not be able to renew their foreign workers’ visas at all.

    “Green” companies will be entitled to a number of benefits, such as expedited services for foreign workers’ visas and the ability to change the job categories of foreign workers into job categories reserved for Saudis, except for human resources managers, liaison officers, cashiers, receptionists or security guards.

    He also hoped that the new drive would bring satisfactory results. Two short films featuring the challenges of the employment market and the Nitaqat system were shown on the sidelines of the meeting.

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