Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Labour and Social Development is preparing to begin a major crackdown on shops across the kingdom as a decision restricting 12 retail roles to citizens comes into effect, according to reports.
The decision, announced in January, applies to jobs in shops selling watches, eyewear, medical equipment and devices, electrical and electronic appliances, auto parts, building materials, carpets, cars and motorcycles, home and office furniture, children’s clothing and men’s accessories, home kitchenware, confectioneries and pastries.
Bank of America Merrill Lynch (BofAML) said in a February report that “tens of thousands” of expats could lose their jobs under the restrictions, although there was no specific data available.
Arabic newspaper Al-Madinah quoted a source at the Ministry of Labour as saying inspection teams were preparing to implement the decision, although it is understood the Saudisation rate has now been reduced from 100 per cent to 70 per cent for outlets.
A total of 200 inspectors will be deployed across the kingdom to catch any violating stores from September 11.
“Training courses were held in several regions of the Kingdom for male and female inspectors on how to prepare inspection reports and detect and document labor violations,” the source was quoted as saying.
The introduction of higher fuel and electricity prices new expat fees and a value added tax, along with job restrictions in other sectors including car rental offices and stores selling gold and jewellery, mobile accessories and female specific items, has seen hundreds of thousands leave their jobs over the last two quarters.
The General Authority for Statistics labour report showed 234,000 foreign workers left the market in the first three months of the year and more than 277,000 in the final quarter of 2017.