Today, two of my Saudi legal advisers were at my office and we had a discussion about the current systems of dealing with expatriate populations.
Both of them felt that the words ‘sponsor’ and ‘alien’ should be changed. In fact, both said there should be no sponsorship system at all.
There was a major concern in their minds though. And it is this concern that has caused so many rules and policies to be created. The concern that the expatriates may abuse and take off. Its a concern from the old times, if you ask me!
Systems worldwide have changed. People are traceable. IDs in most countries cannot be changed. There are databases. There are many ways to identify, trace and track people. Then why so many formalities?
There maybe another concern. Generation of revenue. Simple: give service, make life easy and charge for it if you must.
When I do business here, I make many agreements. I invest and people invest in my work. My sponsors are friends and colleagues. Do I need an iqama with a profession? No. Do I need a business license without having to leave for good? Yes. If I leave, many Saudis lose lots of money. If I don’t generate, how do I pay them? How do I operate when I cannot have a commercial registration in my name. The fact is, I create business and projects that benefits me and many locals. My leaving would be a loss to me and a greater loss to my friends.
So, what do we do?
We request solutions!
Like me, there are thousands of people who have been raised here. They are somewhat Saudized and they are part of Saudi Arabia. Any legislation for us? No. I am, in reality, and in the current system, no different from a guy with the same profession as me and someone who landed in Saudi Arabia 6 months ago! How does that make sense?
Today’s concerns will no longer be concerns 20 or 30 years from today. So, 20 or 30 years later, we will need to make new policies because then concerns will be different. Agree?
The current policies are based on concerns we had 30 years ago. A lot has changed since then. Many aliens have grown here and many locals are unemployed. And, everyone has a significant role on Earth. So, why not accommodate and encourage for mutual benefit?