Riyadh is the capital and largest city of Saudi Arabia, with 7.6 million inhabitants. This city has a very cultural significance, that’s one of the reasons why this city is popular for tourism. Although the bulk of tourism in Saudi Arabia continues to include religious pilgrimages, tourism is growing. According to the World Bank, approximately 20.2 million people visited Saudi Arabia in 2019. As a result, the secondary and tertiary sectors of the economy – manufacturing and construction and service industries – are very well developed in the city, and as a result the greatest number of job vacancies is associated with a high demand for people who can work in these areas.
Foreign workers from other countries in Riyadh In Riyadh, there are a lot of expatriate workers, like 90% of taxi drivers, labourers, construction workers in Saudi – Pakistanis, nannies, housekeepers, beauty salons, kindergarten teachers are women from the Philippines and Ethiopia. In Riyadh, there is also a demand for specialists in the field of oil refining, but these vacancies are mostly filled by locals rather than foreigners.
Work in Riyadh for the inhabitants of the post-Soviet area
In Saudi Arabia, and in particular in Riyadh itself, there are quite a number of job vacancies with high salary for Russian speakers. Mostly required people with a knowledge of English and little work experience – 1-2 years (depending on the type of work). Most popular job vacancies in Riyadh: manicure and pedicure master, eyelash extension and lamination master, stylist, hairdresser, hostess, waiter, bartender, dryer, as well as purely male job – auto mechanic, caretaker, security guard, electrician, handyman, plumber, welder, driver, builder and others.
Current situation of work for foreigners in Riyadh
Saudi Arabia’s labour legislation was designed to provide maximum employment opportunities for its citizens, especially young people. It is very difficult for foreigners to enter the labour market of this Arab State. Every year, the authorities set special quotas for the number of foreign workers, and companies faced heavy fines if those conditions were not met. Of Saudi Arabia’s 34 million people, nearly a third were migrant workers. At the moment, their legal status was fully controlled by the employer, which unfortunately left foreigners vulnerable and exploited. Saudi regulations governing the employment of foreign workers – the so-called “kafalah” – are among the most stringent in the Gulf.
Reforms for workers and employers in Riyadh
In early November, however, the Kingdom announced major reforms in this area. Riyadh had followed the example of neighbouring Qatar, which had also relaxed its migration legislation in recent years. The new system, which became operational in March 2021, has changed the situation of some 7 million foreign workers – including construction workers, IT professionals and trade and service workers. Migrant workers, however, would still have to seek permission from the Saudi authorities, who would be able to refuse to allow a foreigner to leave the Kingdom if the latter had unpaid fines or other debts. The reform also provides that upon the expiration of the contract and subject to certain conditions, migrants will be able to change their place of work without the consent of the previous employer.