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Yemen seeks exemption from Saudisation policy

Committee of cabinet ministers, envoys, to approach Riyadh

Gulf News

Al Mukalla: Yemen’s government is seeking to convince the Saudi authorities to exempt Yemeni workers from latest measures that targeted foreigners who work in 12 occupations in the kingdom.

Bowing to a mounting pressure from Yemenis on social media, Yemen’s President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi has instructed that a committee of four cabinet ministers and Yemen’s ambassador to Saudi Arabia and his deputy be formed, which would approach the Saudis to convince them to free Yemenis from new levies and allow them to work in the Saudis-only jobs.

Last month, Saudi Arabia banned expatriates in the kingdom from working in 12 jobs, a move that expected to drive thousands of blue collar Yemeni workers out of work and force them to return to their war-torn country.

The state-run Saba news agency said the committee would demand the Saudis allow Yemenis to freely work in the Saudi labour market during “this exceptional period”, referring to the current war pitting the internationally-recognised government and the Iran-backed Al Houthis. Hundreds of Yemeni families have slowly returned to their country since mid-2017, when Saudi Arabia began imposing a monthly levy of 100 riyals on each expatriate. The influx remained unchanged this year as the charges increased to 200.

Last week, the Saudi ambassador to Yemen, Mohammad Al Jaber, said the new regulations would apply to all non-Saudis and Yemenis were no exception. “Those who violate these laws and regulations will be deported,” he said in an interview with the BBC Arabic.

The ambassador said there are more than 2 million Yemenis living in the kingdom and the number surged since the beginning of the Saudi-led coalition military intervention in Yemen in March 2015 when the Saudis allowed thousands of Yemenis who fled the fighting to enter the kingdom. “We warmly welcomed more than 500,000 Yemenis in the kingdom when the Iran-backed Al Houthis expelled them from their country,” he said, adding that the Saudi embassy in Yemen has issued more than 40,000 visas to Yemenis over the last several months. On social media, Yemenis, who remained in the kingdom, have criticised their government for not doing enough to convince the Saudis to free Yemenis from the levies.

Meanwhile on battlefield, Yemen’s Defence Ministry said on Monday that government troops seized control of a road and a number of locations in Baret Al Anan district in the northern province of Jawf. Brigadier Hadi Al Juaidi, a local army commander, told the ministry’s official news site, that government troops liberated Al Amhour road and killed and arrested many Al Houthi militants.

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