30,000 people, most of them expats, are employed in 6,000 gold shops across the kingdom
Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Labor and Social Development has begun implementing a ban on foreigners working in the kingdom’s $3.73 billion gold and jewellery industry, according to local media reports.
Quoting ministry sources, the Saudi Gazette newspaper is reporting that a number of government entities are working to enforce the Saudisation effort, which is expected to provide 5,000 jobs for Saudis when the programme is fully implemented.
Once the programme is fully implemented, shops that continue to employ foreign nationals will be given a 20,000 riyal ($5,331) fine for each expatriate worker. The ministry has already appointed permanent inspectors in every market and mall to monitor the effort and conduct spot-inspections.
However, according to the newspaper the ministry is exempting expatriates who are married to Saudi women, on the condition that they remain married or have children with Saudi wives.
The ministry hopes that the effort will lead to a 40 percent reduction in ‘tasattur’ operations – in which expats run businesses in the name of Saudis.
The newspaper quotes Khaled Aba Al-Khail, a ministry spokesman, as saying that inspections would begin following a December 3 deadline.
According to the ministry, about 30,000 people – a majority of them expatriates – work in 6,000 gold shops across Saudi Arabia.