x
Breaking News
0

Saudis to tighten curbs on foreign workers in local jobs push: sources

Economic IndicatorsMar 20, 2017 03:45PM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This article has already been saved in your Saved Items
 
© Reuters. Asian labourer climbs a ladder as he works at the construction site of a building in Riyadh

By Marwa Rashad and Celine Aswad

RIYADH/DUBAI (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia plans to tighten restrictions on foreign workers to pressure companies into hiring more Saudi citizens and reduce unemployment among Saudis, government sources said on Monday.

The new policy could help the conservative kingdom achieve one goal of economic reforms launched last year to ease joblessness among Saudis from the current 12.1 percent to 9 percent by 2020.

But by making it harder for firms to employ low-paid foreign workers, thereby raising costs, the policy may complicate other aspects of the reform drive such as developing private sector businesses and diversifying the economy beyond oil.

The new rules could potentially affect large numbers of people since about 12 million foreigners work in Saudi Arabia, doing many of the strenuous, dangerous and lower-paid jobs shunned by 20 million Saudi citizens. About two-thirds of Saudi workers are employed by the public sector.

Under a program launched in 2011 and known as Nitaqat, the Labor Ministry grades firms according to the ratios of Saudis in their workforces. Companies with higher ratios get preferential treatment when obtaining visas for foreign workers or licenses; those in lower categories face penalties.

Under the new policy, construction firms with between 500 and 2,999 workers would have to employ 100 percent Saudis to be in the top "platinum" category; if they employ 10 percent, they are rated "lower green". This compares to current levels of 16 percent for platinum and 6 percent for lower green.

In the retail sector, a large company's current percentages are 35 percent for platinum and 24 percent for lower green. This would rise to 100 percent for platinum and 35 percent for lower green, according to an official document seen by Reuters.

Policy will also tightened in many other sectors, according to the document, which lists more than 60 industries in which restrictions will be applied.

Some change is already occurring in Saudi employment practice, with many citizens now working as cashiers and sales people in retail shops - the sort of jobs previously seen as undesirable. But there is still a scarcity of Saudis willing and qualified to work in the construction sector.

The tighter policy has been approved by Labor Minister Ali bin Nasser al-Ghafis, the sources said. It is scheduled to take effect on Sept. 3, one source said, declining to be named because an official announcement has not yet been made.

Saudis to tighten curbs on foreign workers in local jobs push: sources
 

Add a Comment

Comment Guidelines

We encourage you to use comments to engage with users, share your perspective and ask questions of authors and each other. However, in order to maintain the high level of discourse we’ve all come to value and expect, please keep the following criteria in mind: 

  • Enrich the conversation
  • Stay focused and on track. Only post material that’s relevant to the topic being discussed.
  • Be respectful. Even negative opinions can be framed positively and diplomatically.
  •  Use standard writing style. Include punctuation and upper and lower cases.
  • NOTE: Spam and/or promotional messages and links within a comment will be removed
  • Avoid profanity, slander or personal attacks directed at an author or another user.
  • Don’t Monopolize the Conversation. We appreciate passion and conviction, but we also believe strongly in giving everyone a chance to air their thoughts. Therefore, in addition to civil interaction, we expect commenters to offer their opinions succinctly and thoughtfully, but not so repeatedly that others are annoyed or offended. If we receive complaints about individuals who take over a thread or forum, we reserve the right to ban them from the site, without recourse.
  • Only English comments will be allowed.

Perpetrators of spam or abuse will be deleted from the site and prohibited from future registration at Investing.com’s discretion.

 
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
 
Write your thoughts here
 
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
Post
Post also to:
1000
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Thanks for your comment. Please note that all comments are pending until approved by our moderators. It may therefore take some time before it appears on our website.
 
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
 
 
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
Post 1000
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
 
 
 
Report this comment

I feel that this comment is:

Comment flagged

Thank You!

Your report has been sent to our moderators for review
Add Chart to Comment
Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.
Continue with Google
or
Sign up with Email