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11 Aug 2021

Middle East Eye

Hundreds of Yemeni professionals in Saudi Arabia laid off and told to go home

In July and August, universities in the southern Saudi provinces of Baha, Jizan, Najran, and Asir began terminating the contracts of all Yemeni academics. According to Mohammed, other foreign staff have not been affected.

“We have been informed by the university that our contracts have been terminated and we have only four months’ notice to leave Saudi Arabia,” Mohammed said. “This happened suddenly and we don’t know what the reason behind this decision is.”...

Life for academics in the war-torn country [Yemen] has become ever more difficult, particularly as Yemen’s economy has nosedived in recent years...

“Professors in Yemen haven’t received salaries since 2016, so there was no way to think about coming back to Yemen and I planned to stay in Saudi Arabia until the war ends and Yemen becomes better,” Mohammed said...

Yemenis have always headed to Saudi Arabia for employment opportunities, and the neighbours’ relationship has only deepened since Riyadh intervened in Yemen’s war in 2015.

With Saudi Arabia and its allies imposing a blockade on Yemen and contributing to its crisis through warfare against the Houthi movement, many Yemenis believe Riyadh should give them all the help they can, rather than seek their removal.