International labour migration and urbanization in Saudi Arabia : the working and living experiences of Egyptian doctors and their families in Jeddah

Al-Khazraj, Yeihya Torkey

June 1992

Thesis or dissertation

© 1992 Yeihya Torkey Al-Khazraj. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written permission of the copyright holder.

This thesis investigates the working and living experiences of temporary Egyptian migrant doctors and their families in Saudi Arabia's major urban centres. The empirical research was conducted in Jeddah city, the largest urban centre in the Western province of Saudi Arabia, where the majority of the Saudi foreign workforce live and work.

Saudi Arabia has experienced enormous economic and social development, including its health care system, over the last two decades. A huge influx of temporary foreign migrant labour was brought into the country to administer and execute economic development projects. With most of
the country's infrastructural projects accomplished, the demand on unskilled and semi-skilled migrant workers has begun to decline in recent years and is expected to decline further in the foreseeable future. However, skilled and highly skilled migrant workers are in great demand, as the focus of economic development centres on the maintenance and running of the accomplished infrastructural projects. The health services sector is among the major employers of expatriate migrant workers. This sector relies very heavily on foreign medical personnel at all levels and for most of its activities.

The main concern of the study is the attempt to provide adequate answers to central questions, such as : What are the motives behind the migration of this group of highly skilled Egyptian migrants to Saudi Arabia? What are the consequences of migration for their medical careers? How do Egyptian doctors and their families adjust to living and working in Saudi society? Are they affected in the same way as unskilled and semi -skilled mi grants by the kefeel system? Do these migrants and their families expect that they will easily re-adjust to life in Egypt when they eventually return home, or do they anticipate that they will encounter some difficulties ?

The present study agrees in some respects, and disagrees in others, with other studies on the field of migration in general. The findings of the study also show some similarities and differences between highly skilled Egyptian migrants in Saudi Arabia and other groups of unskilled and semi-skilled migrant workers living and working in the country and in other Arab labour-importing countries of the Middle East.

Department of Sociology, The University of Hull
Francis, Ray
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