Yemeni workers at risk of mass forced returns from Saudi

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Saudi Arabian authorities have since July 2021 began to terminate or not renew contracts of Yemeni professionals, which could force them to return to the humanitarian crisis in Yemen, Human Rights Watch said.

HRW urges the Saudi authorities to suspend this decision and allow Yemenis to remain in Saudi Arabia with the ability to work.

“In July, Saudi media outlets reported that Qiwa, a platform run by the Saudi Human Resources Ministry, had issued a statement about new regulations requiring businesses to limit the percentage of their workers from certain nationalities, including 25 percent for Yemeni nationals. Reuters reported in mid-August that mass job terminations were targeting an unclear number of Yemenis in Saudi Arabia. Workers who cannot find another employer to act as a sponsor are forced to leave the country or face deportation, which for Yemenis can mean a risk to their lives,” HRW said.

“Saudi authorities are effectively laying off and threatening to forcibly return hundreds, possibly thousands, of Yemeni professionals to an ongoing conflict and humanitarian crisis in Yemen,” said Afrah Nasser, Yemen researcher at Human Rights Watch. “Saudi Arabia is always seeking praise for its ‘humanitarian contributions’ to Yemen, but this decision puts many Yemenis at serious risk.”

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