Two-way job, tourism benefits Thai-Saudi relations

People walk out of the arrival hall of Suvarnabhumi airport after disembarking from a Saudi Arabian Airlines flight, SV846, from Jeddah via Riyadh early on February 28. It was the first direct commercial flight from Saudi Arabia in 32 years, following the recent normalization of diplomatic relations. . (Photo: Varuth Hirunyatheb)

According to the Ministry of Labor, more job seekers traveling to Saudi Arabia as well as more tourists in both directions are expected following the normalization of bilateral relations.

Labor Minister Suchart Chomklin said labor cooperation between the two kingdoms had strengthened since Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha’s visit to Saudi Arabia in late January, which resulted in the full restoration of relations diplomatic after a 30-year hiatus. The ministry is pushing for a labor export deal to Saudi Arabia to be finalized as soon as possible, the minister added.

Further progress has been made in reaching an agreement since General Prayut’s visit to Riyadh, with key details of cooperation already ironed out.

Mr Suchart said that Adnan Abdullah M Alnuim, deputy minister for international affairs, visited Thailand on Tuesday. Surachai Chaitrakulthong, Deputy Minister at the Ministry of Labour, was on hand to welcome the delegation to Bangkok. Mr. Surachai said that the visit of the Saudi vice-minister has further strengthened the ties between the countries’ labor sectors.

Surachai said he is confident that labor exports to Saudi Arabia will start in due course. The details of the case have been clarified. All that remains is to sign a bilateral working agreement, which should take place soon, he said.

The Deputy Minister said that more than 1,000 people have registered online with the Ministry of Employment to apply for jobs in Saudi Arabia.

The department verifies the qualifications of job seekers and tests their professional skills, while trying to match the job sought with the employment available in the Saudi labor market.

Mr Suchart is due to travel to Saudi Arabia for an official visit on March 28, when he will visit workplaces and companies likely to hire Thai workers.

Meanwhile, in addition to lifting restrictions on its own citizens traveling to Thailand, Saudi Arabia is now allowing Thais to visit the Middle Eastern country for leisure, according to government spokesman Thanakorn Wangboonkongchana.

Riyadh also reversed its import ban on poultry and poultry products from Thailand, a move that opened up a significant business opportunity for Thai businesses, Thanakorn said.

He said General Prayut was delighted to hear that Saudi Arabia had lifted its leisure visa ban on Thais and was happy that Saudis could now travel to Thailand.