Over 40 separate types of retail-sector professions will be restricted to Saudi nationals in three phases from September 2018 to January 2019
Saudi Arabia’s move to restrict 43 professionals in the retail sector from Tuesday, September 11 will help empower Saudi workers and increase their levels of employment in the private sector, according to the kingdom’s Ministry of Labour and Social Development.
The restrictions mark the first phase of an initiative that will eventually see 12 retail sub-sectors be restricted to Saudi nationals in three phases, totalling over 40 separate types of professions.
Four sub-sectors will be restricted from September 11: automobile and motorbike showrooms and shops selling ready-to-wear apparel, as well as shops selling home and office furniture and those selling home goods and utensils.
From November 9, the restrictions will be applied to electrical appliances and electronics shops, shops selling watches and shops selling optical instruments.
In January, jobs in shops that sell medical appliances and equipment, building and construction materials, vehicle spare parts, carpets or confectionary will also be restricted to Saudi nationals.
“Those who violate the decision that aims to replace foreign workers with Saudi workers in these activities will be subject to penalties mentioned in the law,” the ministry said in a statement.
Unemployment among Saudi citizens currently stands at 12.9 percent, making job creation an important pillar of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s economic reform drive.
The jobless rate for Saudis is at its highest level in over a decade, from 11.6 percent at the time the Crown Prince announced the kingdom’s economic overhaul in 2016. The reforms call for unemployment to fall to 9 percent by 2020 and 7 percent by 2030.