From today, Saudi Arabia has restricted 43 professions in the retail sector to Saudi nationals. This is part of the government’s effort to decrease unemployment among young Saudi nationals.
The labour ministry has restricted employment in 12 retail sub-sectors which will take place over three phases. Positions restricted include those dealing with cars, clothes and furniture.
“Those who violate the decision that aims to replace foreign workers with Saudi workers in these activities will be subject to penalties mentioned in the law,” the ministry said in a statement.
Saudi Arabia are targeting retail roles to cut unemployment which is currently at 12.8 percent. In addition, jobs in shops selling watches and electrical appliances are also restricted.
From January 7 next year, 44 positions within five other sub-sectors will also be restricted. These will include jobs working with medical supplies and equipment, auto parts, building and construction materials, carpets, bicycles and confectionery shops.
“The move comes as part of the Ministry of Labour and Social Development’s efforts to empower Saudi men and women in the workforce and raise their participation in the private sector,” the ministry said.
Job creation is a priority for the Saudi government, as the kingdom’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman aims to wean the country off its’ reliance on oil. The National Transformation Plan (NTP) objective is to cut unemployment of nationals down to nine percent by 2020 and increase women’s participation in the labour force from 22 to 30 percent over the next 12 years.