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As Expats Leave Saudi Arabia, No One Is Replacing Them


Photographer: Fayez Nureldine/AFP via Getty Images

Saudi Arabia’s push to replace expat workers with nationals doesn’t seem to be working. Nearly 1.5 million expatriate jobs have gone since the end of 2016, squeezed out by an economic slowdown and policies encouraging companies to hire locals as the government weans the economy away from its reliance on oil and cheap foreign labor. Over the same period, however, the number of Saudis employed outside the security and military sector grew by less than 50,000, according to the General Authority for Statistics.

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