Why don’t you grant citizenship to Saudi expat workers?

The leading countries of the world in terms of the economy have one thing in common; they all have highly qualified expatriate workers. This is rather confusing when we look at what is happening to the expatriate workers in Saudi Arabia.

The expatriates are being sent back and the ones living in the Kingdom are not being granted citizenship. Although the United States of America has now closed doors for immigrants from certain countries. But this was not the case at the end of the 1990s, US welcomed qualified immigrants and this boosted their economy.

The US ranks first in terms of the amount of money that the expatriates transfer to their homelands and yet it is the leading economy and superpower of the world. This has all been possible because they welcomed the qualified expatriate workers and granted them nationality.

The European countries are facing a large influx of African and Syrian immigrants. Some of the European countries have even put these immigrants in miserable camps. Canada, on the other hand, has announced that it will welcome a million immigrants over the next three years.

Canada has taken this decision on the basis of economic progress as it sees its immigrants as vital contributors to their economy. The country only welcomes people who are educated, skillful or wealthy as it can benefit from them.

The US and Canada are not the only countries who depend on their immigrant workers for economic progress. Other Western countries also open their doors for immigrants who are wealthy and educated.

Last year, Turkey announced that it would give citizenship to Syrian doctors, engineers and holders of college diplomas. Due to this condition, over 40,000 immigrants out of three million Syrian refugees were granted Turkish citizenship within six months.

We cannot blame a country for attracting only the qualified workers. We have seen that the countries who have done this have progressed rapidly above all the others. First, the US, then Europe and now Turkey, all have taken this step and it has proven vital to their cause.

Rejecting the poor and unqualified immigrants is not humanitarian but the countries don’t want the immigrants to pull them down but rather want them to boost them up. Saudi Arabia has around 10 million expatriate workers.

The Saudization is not welcoming expatriates and is pushing out the ones in the country. The country ranks second in terms of the amount of money the expatriates send back to their homeland. The US is at number one.

The US has progressed by leaps and bounds and this makes us ponder upon the fact that why hasn’t Saudi Arabia progressed like the US? This is because the expatriate in the US have been granted citizenship and they generate more money than they transfer to their homeland, they also spend most of their money in the US.

Whereas in Saudi Arabia, the expatriates do not feel like home and do not settle in. They keep sending money back to their homeland and build their assets over there.  With the recent developments in Saudi Arabia, the condition has deteriorated even more.

The expatriate workers have sent their families back to their homeland and send most of the money to them, spending very little over here.

We need to differentiate between the qualified and unqualified workers. The country cannot run without the expatriate workers and we need to realize this fact.

We need to grant the deserving expatriate the citizenship so that our economy progresses and the country develops. Pushing out qualified people is not the right answer.

Source: Saudi Gazette

  • Mohammed Khalid Tanveer

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