Sudanese Emigration to Saudi Arabia

DOIhttp://doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-2435.1983.tb00982.x
Published date01 October 1983
AuthorMAHGOUB EL‐TIGANI MAHMOUD
Date01 October 1983
Sudanese Emigration to Saudi Arabia
BY DR. MAHGOUB EL-TIGANI MAHMOUD
EMIGRATION REGULATIONS AND REMITTANCES
Similar to the state in other less developed countries (LDC's), the Sudanese government
has faced several difficulties in its effort to control Sudanese travel abroad, which depletes
government stock
of
hard currency, and to effectively mobilize emigrant remittances for
development programs. Since 1970, the government has been studying ways ofcontrolling
Sudanese emigration
(Labor Department,
1978; 198 la; 1981 b). The government then
issued the Passports and Immigration
(Exit Control)
Regulations in 1970, the Code of
Labor Force in 1974, the Ministerial Decree
No.
93 in 1976, the Presidential Decree No.
950 in 1980, and the Ordinance of Sudanese Employment Abroad. All these regulations
were implemented with varying degrees of success. Shortages in personnel, the large
borders of the country, and the fact that many changes have been created in the regulations
over time inhibited the implementation of these regulations successfully.
The Department of Labor's later official statistics demonstrate that the number ofwork
permits issued and endorsed to authorize international travel rose from 390 in 197
1
-
1972
to 12,480 in 1975-1976. The employment of Sudanese nationals in Saudi Arabia and
Libya rose from 10,175 emigrants during 1974- 1978 to more than 26,000 during 1980
(Republic of Sudan, 1976). This number did not include public service employees who
had been on secondment (i.e., officially contracted
to
work abroad), those working in
regional and international agencies, and illegal emigrants.
Despite the responsibility of the Department of Labor to select the best candidates to
work abroad, and to determine annually the number of emigrants for policy making and
development administration, emigration flooded the domestic market with luxury com-
modities. Hence, to create more restrictions on the travel abroad, the Ordinance of
Sudanese Employment Abroad defines the methods, proceedings, and official documents
needed for employing Sudanese nationals abroad (Republic of Sudan, 1980a). On having a
free registration certificate from the Department of Labor, applicants would either com-
pete in the available jobs or would have individual labor contracts, if they are eligible.
To
protect labor from exploitation by contractors, whose interests lie in cheap labor, the
Ordinance obliges contractors to obtain documented applications from the Department of
Labor. Contractors should gain support from Sudanese embassies in their countries with
respect to their need to import labor (Labor Department, 198
1
:6).
However, many foreign
This paper was presented at The Annual Meetings ofThe Sudanese Studies Association in Washing-
ton,
D.C..
March 25-27.1983.
The
findings and discussionsarean outcome ofthe writer's research
on
Sudanese emigration. which was undertaken in the Sudan and Saudi Arabia during August 1981
-
February 1982. The writer
is
greatly indebted
to
the Sudan Government and the Population Studies
and Training Center at Brown University in Providence
for
their generous financial support. The
writer is also indebted
to
Iktrich
Kueschernqw,
Sidney Goldstern,
Calvin
Goldscheider, Richard
Lobban.
and
Lina
Fruzzerti
who read and criticized different versions
of
this work. The interviewees
in Khartoum, Jidah and Dhahran have
all
provided valuable assistance. A special gratitude
is
expressed
to
.Wuhutnniud
El-
T/,qutii
.2.luhtr1oud
and
Zeinah
Octnari
El-Hutsain.
500

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