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Construction industry in Saudi Arabia - Research Paper Example

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CONSTRUCTION Introduction A. General Information about Saudi Arabia While there is a slight variation between sources, the total population of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is about 27 to 28 million (Lindsey 2010). Of that number, 7.5 to 8 million are legal migrant workers (more than the native work force) and another million or more are estimated to be illegal migrant workers…
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Construction industry in Saudi Arabia
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Download file to see previous pages There are laws criminalizing freedom of worship, expression and assembly. For example, public worship of any religion except Islam is prohibited. The media is subject to government censorship and legal rights of due process and adequate representation are very limited, especially for foreign workers, women and minority Shia. Traditionally Saudi education has emphasized religious and social studies and the humanities (at the expense of needed scientific and technological skills) which prepared students only for increasingly scarce jobs in the bloated public service. The current king, while socially conservative, is economically progressive as he promotes opportunities for scientific skill acquisition (Lindsey 2010) by expanding universities, founding new private ones, binging in foreign professors of scientific subjects, fostering research and development and subsidizing student tuition fees in these subjects. In Saudi Arabia royalty is not merely a figurehead as in the UK, but the ultimate power source as the king not a prime minister makes all the very important decisions (Lindsey 2010). While there have been recent efforts at diversification, Saudi Arabia’s economic growth was fueled by the oil boom of the 1970s creating an impetus for growth in spin off industries such as construction The oil boom created a demand not only for oil plants, but also high end commercial and residential construction stimulated by the growth in wealth B. Information about Immigration System in Saudi Arabia. Typically immigrant workers are allowed to live and work in Saudi Arabia on one year visas. The pay scales, while usually lower than their Saudi counterparts, are attractive to the migrants because they are tax free and higher than at home. Usually they remit much of their earnings to their families at home rather than spending it in Saudi Arabia, which would benefit its’ economy (Harper 2012). A minority stay, bring their families and eventually qualify for Saudi permanent residency/citizenship but most return home with their earnings when their visa expires. Until recently migrants were recruited by export labor companies. This is called sponsorship or the kafola system tying employer to employee (Varia 3013) In many cases the export labor companies would confiscate the worker’s passport. The system sometimes lead to migrant abuse ranging from late or non payment of wages, excessive working hours and even physical and sexual violence against domestic workers. Recently the government has moved to take control of the export labor companies by issuing visas directly for the number and type of workers they feel are needed, but more for the purpose of curbing the influx of cheaper migrant labor rather than for reasons of protecting the foreigners from abuse (Harper 2010) It is attractive for migrants to come and work in Saudi Arabia for the tax free earnings. However, the usual sponsorship method of gaining work contracts and visas leaves them at the risk of abuse, from which they have very little protection under the Saudi legal system. Also the strict Islamic lifestyle with its’ prohibition of alcohol and drugs, conservative dress, and low status of women may be unattractive to some. Finally the strict enforcement of Sharia law with harsh capital punishment even for offences less than murder, for example execution for alleged sorcery (Collins 2011) , amputations and lashing ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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