Saudi Arabia is home to approximately 8.4 million expatriates, two million of whom are Saudi-born. Ten percent of the Indian population in Saudi Arabia comprises those born in Saudi Arabia. A large percentage of Palestinians in this kingdom nation were also born in the country. In addition, there are also communities that have third-generation, fourth-generation, and fifth-generation expatriates.
Having inherited Saudi customs and culture from school, friends, and often parents who themselves were born in Saudi Arabia, many of these Saudi-born expatriates have a great affinity toward the country. Many Saudi-born expatriates speak fluent Arabic and have seamlessly integrated into Saudi society. More often than not, they have very few connections with the “home country.” They feel they belong in Saudi Arabia, even though they are not given Saudi nationality. According to Abu Hassan, a Saudi-born expatriate from Eritrea, “All connections with our ancestors’ country were severed. We belong to Saudi Arabia where we were born, raised, educated, married, and had our children.”
The recent labor inspection campaign doesn’t differentiate between Saudi-born expatriates and those in the country in short-term employment. Beside this recent uncertainty, Saudi-born expatriates also fear that their status as non-Saudis would prevent them from being admitted into schools and universities and might prove a hindrance when seeking employment. Furthermore, not being recognized as Saudis keeps them from receiving services that the government provides for Saudi citizens.
According to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Ministry of Interior Ministerial Agency of Civil Affairs, “Individuals born inside the Kingdom from Non-Saudi father and Saudi mother may be granted Saudi Citizenship by the decision of The Minister of Interior.” Once they are granted citizenship they stand to benefit from the various public services, including healthcare and education.
Many Saudi-born expatriates hope that these same privileges might be extended to them as well, so they can continue to live in Saudi Arabia without the threat of changing sponsorship rules and possible repatriation. They dream of a better life for themselves and a good future for their children.
- Pray that the large expatriate community in Saudi Arabia will find their identity in Jesus Christ. Pray that they would belong with Him (The Bible, Psalm 139:13-16).
- Pray for wisdom for those in authority to find ways and means of fully integrating the expatriates who feel they belong in Saudi Arabia (The Bible, Proverbs 3:5-6).
- Pray against the oppression and abuse of expatriates in Saudi Arabia (The bible, Proverbs 14:31).
- Pray that Saudis would come to experience the love of Jesus Christ and come to call Him their Lord and Savior (The Bible, Romans 5:8).