Saudi Arabia the fifth largest country in Asia and 2nd largest after Algeria is home to the two of the holiest places for the Muslim world; Mecca and Medina. Mecca hosts the holy pilgrimage of Hajj every year to almost 3 million Muslims and Medina is the final rest place of the most prominent figure in Islam; Muhammad (Peace be upon him). With the population of more than 28.7 million Saudi Arab has 20 million Saudi nationals and the rest of them are foreigners on visa of different types. It is known as the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and was ruled by absolute Monarch by King Abdul Aziz till 1953 then was ruled by his 6 sons and still in the present day as Salman Bin Abdul-Aziz Al-Saud is the current ruler of the country.
The Oil rich country is the largest producer and exporter of natural oil and 6th largest gas reserves in the world. It is categorized as the high income economy by the World Bank and the leader of the GCC countries and also with the 2nd highest military arm importer in the world for the 4th largest military in the world.
Pakistanis have tried to find a suitable job in Saudi Arabia since Saudi Arabia became oil rich. Many have lived up their whole lives in the country hoping for the permanent residency but failed to do so because of strict laws of the country. Many of the Pakistanis living in the country are having blue collar jobs or as laborers and only a small percentage of the people are in the white collar section with medium to good salary packages. The labors are usually trapped by the system in which they have to give the Kafeel (Saudi national and a businessman) a sum of money monthly or yearly who takes care of their salaries, living and other expenditures also including giving them an opportunity to work. The Kafeel also takes their passport for insurance and without passport the labors can’t run back home unless employed a company directly and the visa is given by the company.
One of the largest construction companies Saudi Bin Ladin were in financial crises and let go off more than 80,00 of its expatriates, thousands of Pakistanis were also let go. The Saudi government is trying to bail out the company but the expatriates and the 12,000 Saudi citizens were not paid for more than 5 months. Some of Diaspora flew back or found another job, sadly however there were some who didn’t get any pay or made their way.
Here are some reasons why people migrate towards Saudi Arab.
- To get paid handsomely and at least three times the amount they are paid in Pakistan.
- To eventually perform the holy pilgrimage of Hajj and Umra since it is easier to perform if you are living there.
- To save enough money to start a business back home in Pakistan.
- Some of the PHD scholars try to get a job in one of the Saudi Arabian Universities for the better income and the experience.