Saudi gives employers $400m to pay nationals more

The Saudi government has given SAR1.5bn ($400m) to 88,000 private companies to cover the cost of salary hikes for nationals, Labor Minister Adel Fakeih has revealed on Twitter.

The money has been distributed after the ministry announced compulsory pay increases for Saudis.

Private employers were unable to avoid the pay rises because of parallel minimum quotas for hiring nationals under the Saudisation program.

It was feared the artificial pay rises would drive up costs in the kingdom, leading the government to partially cover the salary rises.

Fakeih said about 70 percent of the total went to small and medium enterprises who were affected the most.

Meanwhile, the ministry’s Human Resource Development Fund also is providing a SAR24,000 allowance for new job seekers, paid in four instalments over 24 months, Arab News reported.

Fakeih said the ministry also had continued to deport illegal workers following a seven-month amnesty last year that led to more than 1 million leaving the kingdom.

Another 427,000 had since been deported, he said.

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