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29 Oct 2020

Saudi Arabia: Brief examines migrant labour policy as intl. attention shifts ahead of 2030 Vision giga-project construction

This policy brief from FairSquare examines the growing contradiction between Saudi Arabia's migration and development policies as the country seeks both to extricate itself from a reliance on cheap, migrant labour whilst developing huge infrastructure giga-projects that will require the employment of millions of migrant labourers to deliver and are core to the country's 2030 Vision strategy plan.

The brief highlights that the delivery of projects such as the Red Sea Development Project, and the Qiddiya and NEOM leisure cities offers an opportunity to focus international attention on the treatment of migrant workers in Saudi Arabia, alongside issues such as womens rights, freedom of speech and expression, and the death penalty. To secure international financial backing for these projects the Saudi government will face increasing pressure to address and engage constructively on migrant worker rights, pre-empting the international scrutiny from partner government upon whom it may rely.

Crucially, the brief explores that while Saudi citizens have historically not been employed in the private sector, the government will have to improve working conditions to attract citizens into the private workforce - improving conditions for migrant workers alongside.