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Migration, Saudization and Labour Markets in Saudi Arabia : Data, Analyses and Policy Planning

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Jeddah, 15th January 2015

Dr Helene Thiollet, CNRS-CERI Sciences Po

Supporting institutions
Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Dr Lama Al-Sulaiman
Centre Français d’Archéologie et de Sciences Sociales (CEFAS), Dr Michel Mouton
French Consulate General in Jeddah, Dr Louis Blin

GCC countries have recently embarked on a trend of reforms of labour markets and migration policies that have launched a new phase of the region’s migration history.
Saudi Arabia stands apart demographically and politically in the region as the largest labour importer in stocks (9M) if not in share of the population and a demographic and geographic giant in the region. The presence of foreign expats in Saudi society and the dependence of the labour market towards expatriate labour force has become a crucial issue on the political agenda in the last 3 years. Saudi Arabia has entered a period of labour market and migration policy reforms building on the 1990s series of saudization policies.

Saudi Arabia has entered a period of labour market and migration policy reforms building on the 1990s series of saudization policies. This includes both the Nitaqat program and the creation of Hafez as well as new regulation of immigration in the country. This workshop aimed at
1. Discussing the current reforms initiated by the Ministry of Labour and implemented since 2011
2. Highlighting the local dynamics of migration and labour markets in Saudi
3. Discussing the current policy and labour market dynamics in Saudi Arabia in a wider comparative context within the GCC
The conference was co sponsored by the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry (JCCI) under the auspices of Dr Lama al Sulaiman, the CEFAS and the General Consulate in Jeddah. It took place at the JCCI.
Participants included academics and policy makers as well as representatives of the private sector.
Academic participants included
Dr Claire Beaugrand, researcher in social science, IFPO
Dr Laurence Louer, researcher in social science, CERI-Sciences Po Paris,
Dr Jennifer Peck, assistant professor in economics, Swarthmore College,
Dr. Susan Al Qurashi assistant professor of organisational behaviour, King Abdel Aziz University
Dr Helene Thiollet, researcher in social science, Cnrs-CERI-Sciences Po
Policy makers and private sector representatives included
Dr Lama Al Sulaiman, Jeddah Chamber of Commerce
Dr. Abdulkarim Al Nujaidi, Executive deputy director general, Human Resources Development Fund
Dr Ghazi Ben Zager, member of Majlis al Shura, Human Resources Committee
Dr Fatma Al Ghamdi, Workers Committee / ARAMCO, Dammam
Dr Ahmad Al Faheid, Ministry of Labour, Undersecretary, Minister of labour for international labour affairs