Riyadh: Shopping malls, supermarkets, restaurants, and cafes in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia must only hire locals as a part of a raft of initiatives aimed at increasing local employment, the country’s ministry of human resources and social development announced on Wednesday.
A set of three decisions announced by Minister Ahmed bin Suleiman al-Rajhii is expected to provide 51,000 jobs for Saudi men and women, according to the Saudi press agency.
The move is part of widespread government pressure to replace foreign workers with Saudi nationals.
The first ruling would only limit Saudis from working in mall and mall management offices, “except for a limited number of activities and professions in these malls.”
In line with the ministry’s guidelines, supermarkets, restaurants and cafes will have to increase the number of Saudi nationals on salaries.
The ministry has warned that it will take strong legal action against companies that do not hire Saudi employees under the law.
Unemployment among Saudi nationals fell to 12.6 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2020 from 14.9 per cent in the third quarter, official data from the world’s largest oil exporter showed on Wednesday.Since 2016, the government has been pushing for economic reforms to create millions of jobs and reduce unemployment to 730. The plans were hampered by the COVID-19 crisis, which lowered oil prices last year.