A Saudi-based expat was recently fired from his job and deported from the kingdom because he allegedly "took advantage of his post" as a human resources manager to fire 30 Saudi employees.
The country's Ministry of Labor was prompted to take action in the case after it went viral on social media over the weekend. The Director General of the ministry's Eastern Province department, Abdulrahman Bin Fahd Al-Muqbil, explained that a specialist team was sent to the concerned firm which is located in Al Khobar.
They confirmed that the firing incident violated the kingdom's laws, stating that the expat man's "decision clearly contravened the regulations, which forbid non-Saudis occupying such posts."
In a statement on the matter, the government body's Eastern Province branch said it has since reinstated the 30 nationals who previously lost their jobs. The expatriate was issued an exit only visa and has officially been deported from the kingdom, while a Saudi man was appointed to replace him.
According to Saudi Gazette, the firm where the deported man had been employed was handed out violation fines worth 420,000 riyals ($111,999).
News of the action taken against the expat manager also made the rounds on Saudi Twitter. Here's what people had to say on the matter:
Some Saudis hailed the Ministry of Labor's action
"Good on them."
"The person who gave him the authority to do this should also be held accountable"
"We thank the Ministry of Labor for taking action."
A few raised this point of view
"Do so many employees have to suffer, do their cases have to go viral on Twitter before their problems are solved?"
Others questioned the action taken against the expat
"How do you know why he fired them? Couldn't it have been related to them not working properly or being lazy or unable to do their jobs?? Couldn't the Saudi head of the company have asked this expat to take this action? Is it possible for an expat to fire this many people without getting approval from the owners of the firm where he works?"
The kingdom is Saudizing most of its business sectors
In recent years, officials in Saudi Arabia have been working on weaning the kingdom off expats, and instead fully nationalizing tens of industries.
The move comes as part of the country's Vision 2030, a blueprint which aims to diversify Saudi Arabia's economy and tackle its long-standing national unemployment issue, among several other goals.
In various private sector industries, it's now illegal to hire expats in managerial positions. The kingdom has passed several orders, including one that terminates all contracts pertaining to expatriate workers in governments and ministries within three years and another that nationalizes jobs in shopping malls.
In 2017, Saudi Arabia's Minister of Labor and Social Development issued an order reducing the validity of expat work visas for private sector employees in the country from two years to one year.
In November of that same year, the Ministry of Labor and Development arrested a number of expats caught working in nationalized sectors. It also warned violators of deportation.