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Thu 26 May 2016 01:42 PM

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'More raids planned' as Saudisation telecoms deadline looms

Saudi officials are reportedly ramping up action to weed out foreign workers from phone shops

'More raids planned' as Saudisation telecoms deadline looms
A Saudi man displays mobile phones at his mobile shop in the Saudi Red Sea port of Jeddah. (Getty Images)

Authorities in Saudi Arabia are reported to have ramped up action to ensure mobile phone shops have dismissed foreign staff, ahead of a kingdom-wide law to provide more telecoms jobs to Saudi citizens from next month.

Under new rules, mobile phone and accessories shops must ensure at least 50 percent of staff are Saudi nationals from June 6. Six months later, the requirement will rise to 100 percent.

As the Saudisation deadline approaches, the Ministry of Labor and Social Development is calling upon private establishments to comply with the new rules, according to Saudi Gazette.

Ministry spokesman Khaled Abalkhail was quoted as saying that the ministry’s compliance department is preparing to conduct a fresh series of inspections on mobile phone shops across the kingdom.

It was reported in March that Saudi officials had already conducted raids to identify foreign workers employed in the sector.

Punitive measures are to be taken against any shop found to be violating the law.

Meanwhile, education bodies in Saudi Arabia have signed an agreement to train 20,000 nationals in mobile phone sales and maintenance.

The Human Resources Development Fund (HADAF) and the Technical and Vocational Training Corporation (TVTC) HADAF has prepared a range of training programmes and some 19,000 Saudi men and women are already skilled to take up new careers in the mobile phone industry, Abalkhail was quoted as saying.

He reportedly urged Saudi establishments, business owners and jobseekers to visit the national employment gateway (Taqat) website to sign up and post job vacancies in the telecoms sector.