Saudi Economic Collapse Leaves 16,000 Foreign Workers Abandoned In Labor Camps

Tuesday, August 9, 2016
By Paul Martin

by Tyler Durden
Aug 9, 2016

Sinking oil prices and a full blown liquidity crisis has brought the Saudi Arabian economy to screeching halt, a topic we’ve explored on various occasions. The Saudi construction industry has been among the hardest hit as government building contracts have disappeared and bank financing has dried up (something we discussed in a post entitled “Saudi Arabia Admits To A Full-Blown Liquidity Crisis: Will Pay Government Contractors With IOUs, Debt”). We got dramatic confirmation of this for the first time in late April when the BinLadin Group, one of Saudi Arabia’s biggest firms and among the Middle East’s largest builders, whose total workforce is around 200,000, announced it had just fired a quarter of its total staff amid a major operational restructuring as Saudi government spending cuts slammed the company’s primary source of revenue.

Since then it’s only gotten worse. As Bloomberg reports, construction contracts shrank by 65% YoY in 2Q16 according to Jeddah-based National Commercial Bank.

The slowdown in construction has caused two of The Kingdom’s largest construction companies, Saudi Oger and the abovementioned Saudi BinLadin Group, to layoff and abandon 1,000s of foreign workers in the middle of the Saudi desert without pay and no way home. In fact, not only are workers left without a job, in many cases they’re owed 8-10 months of back pay which their employers aren’t paying. To add insult to injury, even if workers wanted to forego back wages and return home they’re not allowed to do so as exit visas for foreign workers have to be arranged by employers. That said, employers can’t arrange exit visas until back wages and benefits have been paid which firms like Saudi Oger and Saudi BinLadin apparently can’t afford to do.

The Rest…HERE

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