Since July 2021, the Saudi authorities started terminating and not renewing the contracts of Yemeni employees, thus forcing them to return to the war in Yemen and face possible killing there.
There are more than two million Yemenis living in Saudi Arabia., where remittances are a vital pillar of Yemen’s economy.
In 2020, the World Bank estimated that remittances sent by Yemenis in Saudi Arabia to $2.8 billion. Remittances sent from Saudi Arabia constituted 65% of the total remittances sent from abroad, according to the Yemeni Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation in June 2021.
Mark Lowcock, the former UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, described the remittances as “the largest source of foreign exchange in the country for several years”, which “provided a lifeline for millions of people”.
In July, Saudi media reported that “Qewa”, a platform run by the Saudi Ministry of Human Resources, issued a statement about new instructions requiring companies to limit the proportion of their workers to certain nationalities, with a maximum of 25% of Yemeni nationality.
Reuters reported in mid-August that mass job layoffs targeted a large number of Yemenis in Saudi Arabia workers who cannot find another employer as a sponsor, are forced to leave the country, or face deportation.
On August 23, the International Federation of Yemeni Communities said, according to confirmed information, the campaign targeting Yemeni workers continues in the cities of the south of the Kingdom until now, in addition to news about the exclusion of some university professors in some southern cities, in an attempt to absorb the popular anger towards these arbitrary decisions.
The Association of Yemeni Doctors in Diaspora, an international network of Yemeni medical workers working to raise awareness of the rights of Yemeni health workers, stated that hundreds of Yemeni health workers in Saudi Arabia had contacted the association to say that they had been informed that their contracts had been terminated or that they would not be renewed, putting them at risk of deportation to Yemen.
Afrah Nasser, a researcher on Yemen, said: “The Saudi authorities are expelling Yemeni employees and threatening to forcibly return hundreds, possibly thousands, to the ongoing conflict and humanitarian crisis in Yemen.
Saudi Arabia has contributed to the human rights and humanitarian crisis in Yemen due to the repeated violations of the laws of war committed by the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen, which have exacerbated the ongoing disaster and destroyed the country’s infrastructure.