Saudi ride app ban for expat drivers creates surge in local jobs

Saudi Arabia has banned foreigners working directly for Uber and Careem creates 167,000 roles for nationals
By Staff writer
Sun 27 Aug 2017 10:58 AM

More than 150,000 jobs have been created for nationals in Saudi Arabia due to the ban on foreigners working as drivers in the ride app sector, according to officials.

The head of the Public Transport Commission, Dr Rumaih bin Mohammed Al-Rumaih, said the percentage of Saudi workers working with ride companies Uber and Careem rose from 10 per cent to 95 per cent as a result of the rule change that was first reported in October 2016.

Non-Saudi citizens have since been forbidden from working with Careem using their own private vehicles. Expats can still work with the ride hailing service through private and public taxi companies.

Al-Rumaih told Arab News that the initiative had helped create 167,000 jobs for Saudi citizens, while Public Transport Commission chief deputy Fawaz Al-Sehli added that the decision had saved hundreds of millions of riyals in foreign remittances.

This move is part of a wider push to reduce Saudi unemployment by bringing nationals into a number of sectors and barring foreigners. This includes stores selling female-specific items, car rental offices, grocery shops and management roles at tourism firms.

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