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Thu 29 Sep 2016 01:54 PM

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Saudi firms get nod to 'second' staff to meet Saudisation quotas

Labour ministry reportedly approves rules permitting firms to 'borrow' Saudi nationals to make quotas

Saudi firms get nod to 'second' staff to meet Saudisation quotas
Image for illustrative purpose only. (Hassan Ammar/AFP/Getty Images)

Saudi Arabia’s labour ministry says private sector firms can “borrow” state-employed nationals to boost their Saudisation credentials, according to local media.

If private companies take Saudis working in the government on secondment or similar, these new staff would be counted as permanent employees within that organisation, Saudi Gazette said.

The newspaper quoted Ministry of Labour undersecretary Ahmad Qattan as saying the labour minister Mofrej Al Haqbani had approved the new rules.

Saudi Arabia’s Nitaqat policy sets out requirements for public and private sector organisations to hire a certain percentage of Saudi nationals to grow the national workforce.

But private sector firms have struggled to fill their quotas as many of them are unable to match the salaries and benefits offered by the public sector.

Qattan was quoted as saying: “Borrowing one Saudi employee from the government sector or university by the private sector will be calculated as one Saudi under the Nitaqat programme.

“The ministry, in cooperation with the General Organization for Social Insurance (GOSI), has launched an integrated electronic system to [register] such Saudi staff under the Nitaqat program.”

Private sector firms must apply for the staff via GOSI, and the government gives approval for their temporary transfer.

The online application form reportedly asks for details such as the name of the employee, his department and ID number and number at the Ministry of Labor, as well as the dates of his secondment and copy of contract.