Saudi Arabia bans foreigners from certain jobs to give citizens more employment opportunities

Decision comes after unemployment rate rises over 12 per cent

Samuel Osborne@SamuelOsborne93
Wednesday 31 January 2018 17:39
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Mohammed bin Salman, Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince, previously said he had 'reserves' of 'ten million jobs that are being occupied by non-Saudi employees' that he could 'resort to at any time of my choosing'
Mohammed bin Salman, Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince, previously said he had 'reserves' of 'ten million jobs that are being occupied by non-Saudi employees' that he could 'resort to at any time of my choosing'

Saudi Arabia has banned foreigners from certain jobs in favour of giving them to Saudi citizens.

The Kingdom's Minister of Labour ordered that jobs in 12 private sector areas would be restricted to domestic applications from early September 2018.

Ali bin Nasser al-Ghafis said the ministry's objective was to give more employment opportunities to Saudi men and women, the Saudi Gazette reports.

A spokesman for the ministry, Khalid Abalkhail, said the jobs were mostly in retail and sales, including sales in watches, glasses, medical equipment, cars and motorbikes.

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The decision comes after the unemployment rate in Saudi Arabia rose over 12 per cent last year as the government has seen its finances strained by low oil prices.

And it comes as part of a drive to renovate Saudi Arabia's economy by the country's new Crown Prince, Muhammad bin Salman.

Before he became successor to the king, Prince Muhammad said he had "great opportunities to create jobs in the private sector."

During an interview with The Economist in 2014, he said he had "reserves" of "ten million jobs that are being occupied by non-Saudi employees" that he could "resort to at any time of my choosing."

He went on to say he did not want to "pressure the private sector, unless this is the last resort."

Earlier this week, the government seized more than 400bn riyals (£70bn) from businessmen and officials detained in its crackdown on corruption.

Dozens of the kingdom's top officials and businessmen were detained and many were held during investigations at Riyadh's opulent Ritz-Carlton Hotel.

The huge sum provides a financial boost for the government, which has a predicted state budget deficit of 195bn riyals (£37bn) for this year.

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