Nitaqat system is reducing unemployment - Saudi minister

Labour minister Adel Fakieh says percentage of unemployed drops to 11.7% in Q3
Nitaqat system is reducing unemployment - Saudi minister
(AFP/Getty Images)
By Edward Attwood
Fri 27 Dec 2013 10:42 AM

Saudi Arabia’s local national unemployment rate dropped from 11.7 percent to 12.4 percent during the third quarter as a result of the country’s Nitaqat programme, according to the Saudi labour minister.

According to Arab News, Adel Fakih said that the number of Saudi men out of work had dropped to 6.1 percent, while  33.2 percent of women were unemployed.

“The number of Saudis receiving salaries less than SR3,000 has been reduced from 356,806 to 109,654,” Fakieh told a meeting in Jeddah, adding that 1.34 million Saudis now receive a salary of SR3,000 or more.

The Nitaqat system, which was announced in 2011 amid very high levels of local unemployment for local nationals, has a rewards system for employers who give jobs to higher percentages of locals. Under a colour coded system, firm that fail to achieve the required quota are penalized.

Fakieh said that 87 percent of Saudi firms were now in the ‘green’ or ‘platinum’ category – meaning that they are fully compliant with Nitaqat.

He also added that over one million foreign expatriates had been deported from the kingdom. Of the remaining number of expats in Saudi Arabia, 2.74 million have switched companies, 2.58m have changed professions and 4.7 million have been able to renew their resident permits.

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