Limiting the years of employment for expats

Limiting the years of employment for expats

Ahmed Al-Arfaj

By Ahmed Al-Arfaj


THE situation of foreigners coming to work in the Gulf countries needs an in-depth study. They come and reside in the region physically but their hearts and minds always remain attached to their homeland.

I feel pity and compassion for these expatriates. They are not citizens who contribute to building a country that they feel belong to, but they do not await the day of departure or long for the joy of returning to their homeland.

Let me think aloud with you about who would come to work in the Gulf countries in 2018 and beyond. Why don’t we limit the employment contracts of foreign workers to only four years, not renewable under any circumstance.

If we do that we will have a range of benefits. The foremost among them is to provide opportunity for the greatest number of people to come and gain from working in our country. Another advantage of this is that the foreign worker does not get disconnected from his or her own country for a long period and become like a dove that lost the ability to fly and couldn’t master the crow’s walk. This has turned the foreign worker into an angry person. He feels incapable of building the future of his homeland and he feels alienated in a community to which he does not belong.

The third advantage is that we will put an end to the weapon of grace, which the residents often use if they happen to stay here for 10 or 15 years. We hear the employee repeat on every occasion, “I served you for tens of years.”

These are only some of the advantages. There are many others, but the negative aspects are but a few, such as some people objecting to the idea of terminating the employment contract because of the need to train new workers every four years. This is not a negative in my opinion; it is one positive side of the move because this allows for skill development and breaking the routine while updating both the trainer and trainee at the same time.

I hope no one would take my words for rigidity or racism. All I have offered here is regulatory measures that will preserve the rights of all parties. Such arrangements exist in most advanced countries in order to keep a balance in the relationship between the employer and employee based on a policy of no harm or damage.