According to newspaper reports in the region, expatriates who work in Saudi Arabia could face a mandatory retirement age of 60 in line with Saudi nationals.
The total workforce in the private sector in Saudi Arabia consists of approximately 90% expatriates. In a bid to reduce the number of expatriates working in the country and encourage overseas companies to hire more local employees, the Saudi Arabian government have announced controversial plans to force expats to retire at the age of 60.
At present, although there are no current restrictions on the age until which expatriates are permitted to work in Saudi Arabia, many local citizens believe that older Saudi citizens are sidelined in favor of foreign workers and that expats working in the country should be restricted to the same working ages at the Saudi nationals. However, the news has met with resistance from expats and their hiring companies. Dan Henderson, a British expat working in the oil industry, told UK newspaper The Telegraph: “While this would simply bring expats into line with locals it’s still a bit of a blow for those foreigners hoping to earn big tax-free salaries well into their 60s.
“It’s also part of a worrying trend of making life harder for expats here and across the Middle East.”
However, local Saudis claim that the introduction of the same retirement age cap that they are required to adhere to is only fair, with many of them arguing that additional measures should be introduced to include a lower age requirement for work visas.
Sameer Hussain Chairman of the Human Resources Committee at the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry argued that the plans to implement a mandatory retirement age are fair:
“There should be equality between Saudi workers and expatriate workers in the matter of retirement age.
“While it is mandatory for a Saudi to retire at the age of 60, it is unfair to allow a non-Saudi worker to continue to work beyond that age for many more years,” he said.
Online reports do not current provide details of when the new legislation on mandatory retirement age may be introduced, but sources estimate that when it is implemented it could impact up to 500,000 expatriates who are currently working in the kingdom