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The government wants a greater share of Pakistanis to form the workforce that is contributing to the mammoth NEOM city project in Saudi Arabia.

Saudi ambassador to Pakistan H.E Nawaf Bin Said Al-Malki called on Minister for Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development Sajid Hussain Turi on Thursday.

Turi discussed issues and opportunities for creating jobs for overseas Pakistanis in Saudi Arabia and emphasized ensuring a sizeable Pakistani quota formed the workforce for the development of the futuristic multi-billion NEOM city Project.

“As we are a developing country, the criteria for Pakistanis should be more open," read a ministry statement, adding that more Pakistanis should be accommodated in diverse jobs in the project.

NEOM is part of de facto ruler Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s Vision 2030 plan to diversify Saudi Arabia’s oil-dependent economy. It has been billed as a futuristic cityscape evocative of a sci-fi blockbuster – with everything from flying taxis to robot-maids.

It is being built in the Tabuk Province of northwestern Saudi Arabia. The $500 billion flagship business project is part of Prince Mohammed bin Salman's drive to diversify Saudi Arabia's economy, which remains heavily dependent on petroleum sales.

Saudi denies NEOM megacity will be ‘country within a country’

During the meeting, Turi also said that Pakistan and Saudi Arabia enjoyed brotherly ties based on strategic partnerships. He added that the leadership of both countries were determined to enhance bilateral ties and cooperation in diverse fields.

Home to millions of Pakistani expatriates, Saudi Arabia is a major source of remittances, a vital source of foreign exchange for the cash-strapped South Asian country.

As per the latest figures from the central bank, Saudi Arabia was the largest contributor to workers’ remittances with $6.517 billion during July-April FY22, up from $6.412 billion in the same period last fiscal year.

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