When I’m Gone

I’m trying to do as much as I can. So that when I’m gone… they won’t have much to worry about.

Wait, what? No! I’m not dying!

What I meant was, I’m trying to do as much as I can here at the OFFICE. You know… clear out all the pending stuff so that when I’m gone (which is starting tomorrow) my co-workers won’t get their panties in a knot.

No, I didn’t get fired or resign either. Today is the last day of the 2nd grace period granted by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for illegal workers to rectify their statuses.

Meaning, if you want to stay employed, better have your iqamas sponsorship transferred to that of your employers.

The recent Saudization issue have mobilized thousands of illegal expatriates to either flee the kingdom (legally of course) or try to get their iqamas transferred to continue working.

To make things even harder for us womenfolk, the kingdom only allows transfers for MALE children (sons, I know). Later on, the decided (last minute) to allow WIVES of expatriates to transfer us well. And for the daughters?

ZIP! NADA. Nothing. They say us expatriate daughters AREN’T ALLOWED TO WORK.

The company I am currently working for is trying its best to transfer most of its expat daughter workers (myself included) to its sponsorship, so I’ll just be MIA till they give me the signal to come back. Hopefully this process will bear positive results. I can’t afford to be unemployed at the moment, neither can most expatriates working here.

Why do we need to stop working, you ask?

Well, the penalty is kind of a turn off. Instant deportation, 10 year ban from the kingdom, SR 100K fine? Oh, and did I mention jail time?

I admire the idea of the kingdom wanting to boost its nationals’ employment rate. Really I do. I mean I wish Philippines would do the same (though not as aggressive as the kingdom’s efforts) for it’s citizens. But, most of us expatriates have, at most, menial jobs, laborer jobs such as plumbers and construction workers, entry level jobs like mine. It’s good money, don’t get me wrong. But the jobs mentioned aren’t exactly the ones the Saudi nationals are aiming to get.

They want managerial jobs, air-conditioned offices, those occupations that can give them authority. You know the type. There is no harm in wanting a high-end job. Who doesn’t want that? But those aren’t the jobs that are going to be available after Saudization succeeds.

In Dr. Ali Al Ghamdi’s article, Saudization and Expatriates, he explains how will Saudization affect the kingdom’s economy and that expatriate workers have contributed a great deal in the kingdom’s progress over the years.

As for expatriates, they are partners in our country’s development. We must appreciate their commendable endeavors and recognize them respectfully, in addition to giving them their due rights. We must say to those, who speak about the amount of money that expatriates transfer to their countries as if has been stolen, that this money was honestly earned by expatriates and is their reward for their sweat and toil. We should also tell them that the Kingdom has benefited tremendously from the hard work and services of expatriates. Allah showered His blessings on them for what they earned through their endeavors and services to this country and its people.

– Dr. Ali Al Ghamdi

Us expatriates are not stealing jobs from the kingdom’s nationals. We are just taking the opportunities that are made available. If you don’t want them, then we’ll have them, if given the opportunity. We don’t like decent jobs to go to waste.

I’d like think us expatriates are the kingdom’s people too. It has been good to us. I practically grew up here. I’ve seen how my parents worked for years and earned our living. The opportunities us expatriates have weren’t handed to us on a silver platter, we earned and worked for them. In return, I believe the services provided by expatriates has helped in making the kingdom a prosperous place.

I’m just praying for the best. Hope you guys do, too.

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