As Saudi allows women to drive, expat drivers fear job loss

NEW DELHI: It will definitely be a good news for Saudi women after a historic decision allowing them to drive but may be very bad news for the nearly 14 lakh expatriate chauffers.

Indians, the largest expatriate community in the kingdom, who depend on driving, are expected to face a job crunch as the demand for personal drivers will likely to slash and there will be an exodus of drivers to their home countries.

A segment of Indian expatriates, mostly from Telangana and Uttar Pradesh work as household drivers. They are employed to drive their female bosses to workplaces, shops, schools, colleges and back.

With the removal of the need for a family driver, hundreds of thousands of male chauffeurs risk losing their jobs as they were no longer needed after the decree will get implemented from June 2018.

Earning SR 1500 -1700 (Indian Rupees 26,000 to 29,000), the drivers sends much of their pay back to their home countries.

A house driver plays an important role in Saudi and with the historic decision, “my madam (employer’s wife) will be able to pick children from a school near to home,” said Mohammed Waseem, from Metpally of Telangana.

Rambhupal Reddy, from Kamareddy district who works as driver for a Saudi family in Riyadh told Telangana Today, “I was thinking to ask for the increment of SR 200 in my salary but after hearing that the women are now allowed to drive cars, I have decided to keep quiet for the time being.”