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Saudi Arabia has released around $1 billion in money owed to its biggest construction firms in a bid to contain labor unrest in the country, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal.
The Saudi Binladin Group, a family-owned firm that has overseen the expansion of the Holy Mosque in Mecca and Riyadh's financial district, was reportedly paid between $800 million-$1.1 billion in September so that it "could honor unpaid wages," the newspaper noted, citing two people familiar with the matter.
The undisclosed payments were intended to give the mostly migrant laid-off workforce enough money so that they could leave the kingdom, the WSJ said.
Migrant workers in the Middle East have borne the brunt of a dramatic fall in global oil prices since mid-2014, with many laid-off and stranded away from home.