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Sat 5 Mar 2011 04:42 PM

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Saudi officials plan stricter rules on expat employment

Labour Minister says he will launch a new Saudization programme in the next few weeks

Saudi officials plan stricter rules on expat employment
A new Saudization programme aims to provide more jobs for young Saudi nationals. (Getty Images)

Saudi Arabia's Ministry of Labour plans to launch a new Saudization programme in the next few weeks which will introduce stricter rules on employing foreign workers, it was reported on Saturday.

The new plan also aims to tackle the issue of ending the kingdom's unemployment problem among Saudi nationals, Labour Minister Adel Fakieh told Arab News.

"The new programme consists of regulations and mechanisms that will change the fundamentals of the job market and seek to achieve incremental employment of Saudis and ban the private sector employing non-Saudis if sufficient local hands are available," he added in comments made in the paper.

The paper said details, including the rights and obligations of the private sector and the rights of the jobseekers, would be revealed in the next few weeks.

Fakieh said: "The ministry will no more allow the employment of non-Saudis denying the rights of the local people. Companies and establishments that do not follow the new recruitment guidelines and regulations will be punished."

He told the paper that special incentives would be offered to the companies that achieve maximum Saudization.

He added that the registration process for new scheme would be simplified with the launch of a new website.

"The private sector should not think that the new regulations are against its interests even if a bit harsh and strict," said Fakieh. "As long as there is fairness, transparency, and commitment from all sides, the new regulations will bring more profit to all."

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raza 9 years ago

Fairness and transparency? The private sectors are forced for the transparency but the ministry never shows any kind of easiness for the private sectors. Even when the organizations have completed the saudization quota, the ministry does not give them visas easily. How is that fairness and how is that not harsh?

Majed 9 years ago

I'd be very interrested to see the type of rights the private sector will have!

sadia 9 years ago

No matter, what they do, how many saudiaziation schemes they launch, unless there's a change in national behavior, it wont work. Saudi youth needs to come out of their comfort zone and develop the attitude of hard work, without which the country will always be dependent on expats. Such plans look highly ambitious on paper but unfortunately practicality is a lot different. For now it seems nothing more than a panic action, given the middle east situation.

Brian 9 years ago

This will only harm the Saudi economy. The proper way to get Saudis hired is to educate them properly and build a system that encourages self-sufficiency and reward for performance. The current economic model where Saudis have an entitlement attitude is not sustainable. The reason so many expatriates are there is because the Saudis don't want to work but they want to get paid. This program is a step in the wrong direction.

Sandpiper 9 years ago

The problems in the Saudi job market and society as a whole are unimaginable to anyone who has not been there and see it. This is not going to help in the slightest. If you deny the market visas, then jobs will simply go undone, until the place inevitably grinds to a halt.

BEN 9 years ago

funny.... Saudi Aramco just posted a huge 1 page ad for a recruiting day they were having down in Houston,TX!

Ali 9 years ago

Are they fair and transparent today to the expats. Whether its private, govt or public sector or normal traffic incident on roads. In every case the expat loses. There are laws are on paper but not applied fairly and is totally biased. How they plan to be fair to all will be interesting to watch.

Asaad 9 years ago

Expat employment is already suppressed in KSA.. Saudi official should concentrate on improving their people's skills and education rather then restricting jobs for Expat.
In order to compete with Expat peoples, Saudi Arabia need to produce competent peoples compared to an Expat.

E.R.T. 9 years ago

Good. yet another Welcomed effort. Already rules for non saudi employees are strict, and many are passing through hectic formalities. Probably Saudi is the only place to have such rules. How much more stricter are these rules going to be? We are talking about technical, high profile jobs. Low profile jobs saudi's do not like to pursue.. its totally impractical approach. How do you rate intelligence levels? Do you think, that having a degree is enough to be employed? One has to have desire to work, and you will not get in any university or colleges. If we look at amount of new projects, development coming up, it needs more relaxed laws to employ non-saudis. If the rules are getting tough, nobody will be willing to come to Saudi. Already there are lots of concerns, and without understanding real scenario if the policies are made, then it will be definitely a stumbling block in development of Kingdom. Lets treat it resonably.

Bedu 9 years ago

One need not be so negative. There are a number of Saudis that are talented and hardworking, but are shut out of the labor market due to salary and lack of job specific skills. Retraining them is a must. Expats will always cut prices to compete as they have a different cost structure at home. I think saudization is the only way forward and the private sector has to shoulder the costs. Anyway they enjoy tax free profits and artificially low gas prices for thier factories. Let them contribute thier bit! About 20-25 years hence, there will be a good segment of trained and experienced saudis to take up senior positions as well.