Reimbursement of Federal Employee's Salaries and Benefits by Saudi Arabia

ID-83-4: Published: Oct 21, 1982. Publicly Released: Nov 22, 1982.

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The U.S. Government has approximately 1,500 employees working either in Saudi Arabia or in support positions in the United States whose salaries and benefits are being reimbursed by the Saudi Arabian Government. GAO reported on the scope of the overall programs, the working relationship of the federal employees to Saudi personnel, and the perceptions of U.S. employees.

Federal employees who are involved in an economic cooperation program with Saudi Arabia work under the auspices of either the U.S.-Saudi Arabian Joint Commission on Economic Cooperation, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, or the U.S. Geological Survey Mission. These employees have their salaries and benefits reimbursed to them by the Saudi Government at an annual cost to the Saudis of over $80 million. Recruitment of U.S. employees for Saudi Arabia generally follows the normal procedures and practices used to recruit federal employees, and the required approval by the Saudis is usually forthcoming. The restrictive living conditions, high costs, and generally unfavorable climatic conditions that exist in Saudi Arabia make it necessary for private concerns and the U.S. Government to provide additional allowances and benefits to employees. These employees are permitted to rejoin their former domestic agencies provided they return within 2.5 years or have received permission to extend their tours. GAO found that many of the employees who were interviewed stated that they are working in the position for which they were hired, although some indicated they are performing a more operational type of work than was originally contemplated in the agreements.

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