Emiratisation, Saudisation, Qatarisation, Kuwaitisation and / or Omanisation as applied during this past decade within the bounds of each country of the GCC have developed a specific problematic to each. A review of these most prominent GCC Human Resources Nationalisation Programmes at this conjuncture of low oil price is proposed.
To start with, in the UAE for example, Emiratis were found to make up less than 10% of the total workforce in almost all companies and that a quarter of them believe that Emiratisation objectives do not apply to them according to the numerous new reports on the subject. 56% of all interviewed companies HR’s managers also said their company had specific policies or programmes in place for Emiratisation and that some 25% responded that the question – or the policy – did not apply to them, which means there are either no targets set for certain industry sectors or never enough qualified Emiratis to take on certain roles.
In Saudi Arabia where all foreign firms must employ 75% Saudis employees, as planned by the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA) through alternations to the Saudi foreign investment regulations .
The move by SAGIA is aimed at ensuring foreign investment plays a larger role in strengthening the national economy, and is part of wider changes to regulations governing foreign investors. These stipulate that firms investing in Saudi Arabia must have a middle-sized classification with a minimum of 50 employees and minimum capital of SR 35.5m ($9.5m). At least 10% of employees must be managers or specialists and 15% technicians, or vice versa. Expatriates in Saudi Arabia may longer be able to hold jobs in human resources, according to reports.
Also, the labour ministry is toying with the possibility of introducing a plan to restrict HR and hiring jobs in the private sector to Saudi citizens, local media reported with a firm “The ministry will take punitive measures against any private firms that allow foreigners to work in these jobs directly or indirectly,” The Saudi Gazette quoted the ministry official as saying.
Kuwait on the other hand, is reportedly considering a proposal to deport expats that lose their job as a way of reducing its foreign worker population. Current Kuwaiti laws allow expats three months to find new employment but this according to the local law-making elite, hampers the country’s ability to rebalance its workforce. The Supreme Council for Planning and Development found in a study are having second thoughts and are mulling this proposal so as reducing further pressure on public services.
It recommended that expat workers only be entitled to their end of service compensation once they terminate their residency visa and leave the country. The drawbacks are amongst many things, the application in the field of its policies to correct Kuwait’s demographic imbalance.
The government however seems to be fully aware that it will definitely be facing difficulty in encouraging Kuwaitis to enter the predominantly expat worker private sector. This, many doubt its plans to reduce the expat population from 69% of the total today to below 50%, is ironically helped by the current conjuncture of low oil prices.
A much smoother Oman will be, according to reports, adopting shortly and throughout its public authorities and institutions certain levels of cuts to workers benefits aimed mainly at the expat contingents of all sectors.
A government minister of Qatar announced back in December 2015, that 90% of public sector by 2026 will be comprised by Qataris. The government will further ‘nationalize’ its public sector in the coming decade so that some nine out of 10 such jobs will be held by Qataris, the country’s Minister of Administrative Development said.
It will be interesting to review what Qatar’s statistics are especially in relation to their 2022 World FIFA Cup commitment as well as on how many expats work in the public sector.
Qatarizing many of these jobs, especially those in the private sector, would be difficult due to the small size of the local population. It would also require a great deal of training.