New Saudi Arabia Regulations Aim to Reduce Foreign Workers by Half
Recently, the Saudi government has been implementing regulations aimed at lowering the number of foreigners working in the Kingdom. Companies are now strongly encouraged to hire more Saudi nationals and the number of expats (about 10 million) must be reduced by 50 percent by the year 2020. Among them are many Christians.
If the country follows through with implementing the plan, many migrant believers, leaders and members alike, will be sent home. The impact is already being felt. For example, since last year many Christian leaders, pastors, and workers have been terminated from their jobs and sent home due to downsizing, closure of companies, unpaid salaries (or long delays). This impact is being felt all over the country.
Since Christian migrants are by far the largest group of believers present in Saudi Arabia, a steep decline in the number of migrant workers would also mean a diminishing presence of the Body of Christ in the country.
During a recent trip to the Arabian Peninsula, Open Doors workers spoke to several migrant workers—some of them from Buddhist background—who found Christ while working in Saudi Arabia. So, a reduction of the number of migrants would also reduce the chances of foreign workers to interact with Christ-like believers while employed in Saudi Arabia.
Therefore, believers in Saudi Arabia ask us to pray for the authorities to re-evaluate this plan.
Father, we thank You for the ways You have sent the message of Your gospel to this nation in great need of the truth of Your Word. We come before You, covered in the righteousness of Christ, boldly asking that You overrule in the nation of Saudi Arabia, that the authorities might re-evaluate this plan. We pray for those who are working there and also spreading the gospel and training up new believers through God-ordained encounters. As some are being forced to return to their home countries, we pray Your encouragement and equipping for those who remain that they will continue to trust in You. We pray for their congregations, that they will remain faithful under pressure and that Your church will continue to grow in the midst of these changes. We pray for those in positions of authority in Saudi Arabia—those in the government, the royal house of Saudi Arabia and the religious police force to discover the Good News that Jesus is the true Son of God who gave his life that they might live. It is in the name of that same Jesus that we pray today. Amen.