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The New Arab Staff

Expat exodus: Over million expatriates expected to leave Saudi Arabia in 2020

Unemployment rates among Saudis are expected to remain largely unchanged [Getty]

Date of publication: 17 June, 2020

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Some 178,000 applications to leave the kingdom were made within a period of just over a month.

As many as 1.2 million foreign workers are expected to leave Saudi Arabia's job market this year, following around 300,000 expat workers who have already left the kingdom in 2020, according to a report.

The figures, released by Jadwa Investment Company also show that between 22 April and 3 June, a total of 178,000 applications were made to the "Awdah" service, which facilitates the departure of foreign workers. 

The Jawda report added that the hospitality, restaurants, food services, administrative, travel and security industries will be most affected by the departures.

Despite the expat exodus, unemployment rates among Saudis are expected to remain largely unchanged at 12 percent by the end of the year, according to Saudi media reports.

This is largely due to the kingdom's Saned insurance scheme launched in 2014, which resulted in the government funding 60 percent of private sector workers' salaries for three months.

Amid the coronavirus pandemic, Saudi Arabia has struggled to contain the virus amid a serious spike in daily cases and deaths since authorities began easing a nationwide lockdown in late May.

Read also: Saudi Muslim World League chief to speak at pro-Israel forum in latest normalisation drive

The pandemic has also thrown Riyadh's ambitious economic plans into jeopardy, with significant cuts set to affect programmes and projects which form part of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's reform initiative to reduce the kingdom's dependency on oil - known as Vision 2030.

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