By Claire Valdini
Move is latest attempt to get more Saudis working in expat heavy private sector
Saudi Arabia will blacklist unemployed nationals who refuse to take jobs without good reason as part of efforts to get more Saudis working for private companies, local paper Saudi Gazette reported.
The register of names will include details of training, financial aid and other incentives offered to candidates and will also include the names of females receiving unemployment benefit - or Hafiz - who show no inclination to work, said Ahmad Al Humaidan, undersecretary for Labour Affairs at the Ministry.
Saudi Arabia, like most Gulf states relies heavily on expatriate workers to fill jobs at all levels of the economy. Foreign workers account for nine out of ten private-sector jobs in the kingdom.
More than 1m Saudis are now receiving unemployment benefit, officials in the world’s top oil exporter said in March.
The high unemployment rate underlines a source of potential discontent that the kingdom’s rulers are keen to avoid.
Last year’s Arab Spring uprisings in Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, Yemen and Syria were blamed by some on the high level of youth unemployment.
The Gulf state has introduced a number of measures in the last year aimed at reducing the number of unemployed Saudis, including refining its quota requirement for foreign versus Saudi workers.
Officials on Monday reported changes to the sponsorship system for expatriate workers including allowing employees to retain their passports and abolishing the need to have a sponsor’s permission to apply for family visit visas.
Ahmed Al Humaidan, undersecretary for labour affairs, said that foreign residents will be given the freedom to transfer their sponsorship from one employer to another as part of the changes.
“What we are trying to do now is to ensure and guarantee the full rights of the labourer without infringing on the employer’s rights,” Al Humaidan said.
I think they are going to need one huge register for this !! As for more rights for foreigners, that is just a myth as the sponsorship system is benefitting millions of Saudis directly or indirectly. Lack of respect towards foreigners will never change.