Riyadh. Remittances from Saudi Arabia’s estimated nine million foreign workers, including up to one million Indonesians, are rising as the kingdom recruits for its massive development plan, an economist said.
Saudi Arabia said this year it wanted to recruit more skilled Indonesian workers. At $18.4 billion last year and $15 billion in the first eight months of 2009, earnings sent abroad now equal 4 percent of Saudi GDP, John Sfakianakis of Banque Saudi Fransi said.
Remittances in the January-August 2009 period rose 12 percent compared with 2008.
The Saudi government is recruiting foreign workers to build roads, rails, ports, airports and cities worth about $400 billion in the five years to 2012.
Saudi Arabia was the world’s third-largest source of foreign worker remittances in 2008 after the United States and Russia, the World Bank said. The Saudi government says about six million foreigners work in the kingdom, but “the unofficial figure is closer to nine million,” Sfakianakis said.
Most of them are Indonesians, Filipinos, Indians, Bangladeshis and Pakistanis. They do jobs from domestic work and construction to managing top companies.