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Tue 7 Jun 2016 11:51 AM

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First telecoms Saudisation deadline takes effect this week

At least 50 percent of mobile phone shop employees must be Saudi citizens from June 6

First telecoms Saudisation deadline takes effect this week
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 planning full-scale inspections of mobile phone shops now that the first phase of sweeping Saudisation rules have taken effect.

As from June 6, stores selling mobile communications devices must ensure that at least 50 percent of employees are Saudi citizens. The requirement will rise to 100 percent by September 3.

The Ministry of Commerce and Investment (MCI) said on Monday that joint inspections would be conducted from this week in coordination with the ministries of labour and social development, municipal and rural affairs and telecommunications & information technology, according to Saudi Gazette

Any businesses found to be in breach of the new rules face penalties including up to two years in jail and an SR1 million ($260,000) fine. Expatriates would be deported after serving a prison term.

There would also be immediate closure of the mobile phone shop and a five-year ban on it doing business, the newspaper reported.