Sa'udi Arabia - Migration

Emigration is limited. Immigration of professionals, technicians, and others from the surrounding Arab states and growing numbers from outside the region has been spurred by the development of the oil industry and by the lack of adequately trained and educated Sa'udi personnel. Palestinian Arabs, displaced by the establishment of the state of Israel, are the chief immigrant group. In the early 1990s there were significant numbers of expatriate workers from the US, European countries, Turkey, Jordan, Syria, Jordan, Kuwait, Yemen, the Republic of Korea (ROK), Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, and the Philippines. In 1990 when Iraq invaded Kuwait, Sa'udi Arabia reacted by expelling workers from Jordan, Yemen, and Palestinians, for their countries' support of Iraq. The foreign population was 4,624,459 in 1992 (27% of the total population). After the Gulf War, 93,000 Iraqis were granted temporary asylum. Since then, 60,000 Iraqis were returned under the POW exchange. In April 1997, 20,800 had resettled in 33 different countries, 3,010 had voluntarily repatriated, and 9,000 were still in camps in Sa'udi Arabia. By 1999, 5,390 Iraqi and 158 Afghan refugees were living in the Rafha Camp administered by the government. In 2000, the net migration rate was 4.3 migrants per 1,000 population. The total number of non-citizens living in the country in 2000 was 5,255,000. The government views the immigration level as too high, but the emigration level as satisfactory.

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