Ever since the government announced its decision to hike visa fees for foreign workers, Minister of Labor Adel Fakieh has been on the defensive trying to explain the motives and goals of his policy. However, Fakieh has recently decided to launch a charm offensive, appearing on television and inviting bloggers and tweeps to dinner parties at five star hotels. Saad Al Dosary was invited to a dinner hosted by the ministry in Jeddah, and he came out convinced because “it’s hard to argue with numbers”:
There are 7 million non-Saudi workers making a living here, while there are 2 millions Saudis looking for a job. The math is simple. Now, having said that, we could say the ministry’s strategy is based on two main pillars: The first, to give Saudis, males and females, a fair chance to compete over available jobs in the market. The second is to fix and reform the dysfunctional labor market. The decision to increase the fees is only one of many decisions and initiatives the ministry is adapting to amend the stale labor market.