Saudi Arabia ranks fourth in hosting the largest number of foreign manpower worldwide with 9.1 million foreign workers in the Kingdom, a new study has shown.
According to a study published by the Population Division of the United Nations most of the expat workers have been living outside their home countries for an extended period of time.
The United States ranked first as the most popular destination for expatriates with 45.8 million; followed by Russia, 11 million; Germany, 9.8 million; Saudi Arabia, 9.1 million; and the United Arab Emirates, 7.8 million.
The study says Asia has experienced the largest increase in the number of international migrants since 2000.
Despite the increasing number of foreign workers pouring into Saudi Arabia, the working condition seems to be harsh with many cases of violence and rights abuse reported by human rights organizations. According to a spokesperson from international organization Human Rights Watch (HRW), these conditions are “near-slavery” and attributes them to “deeply rooted gender, religious, and racial discrimination”.
According to HRW, Saudi Arabian law does not provide strong legal protection for migrant workers and housemaids. As such, they face “arbitrary arrests, unfair trials and harsh punishments” and may falsely be accused of crime.
Amnesty International reports that those charged are often unable to follow the court proceedings, as they are often unable to speak the language and are not given interpreters or legal counsel.