May 25 2011
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Companies prodded to race for Saudization, its benefits
JEDDAH: Labor Minister Adel Fakieh has urged private companies to compete with one another in employing Saudis in order to qualify for the various incentives offered by his ministry.
Speaking to businessmen at the Riyadh Exhibition & Conference Center on Monday, the minister expected that the newly introduced Nitaqat system would help reduce unemployment among the Saudis.
GOSI has already designed an insurance program for the jobless in cooperation with the International Labor Organization on the directives of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah.
According to the new system announced by Fakieh earlier this month, private companies would be classified into green, yellow and red categories considering their performance in the Saudization of jobs. Fakieh said the new Nitaqat system gives an opportunity for companies to compete with one another to get a position in the preferred green category and benefit from the various incentives.
"We have set out new standards to assess the employment of Saudis in private firms. We have differentiated between companies that have achieved high Saudization rates and those refusing to employ Saudis," he said.
The companies in the red category would be prevented from renewing work visas of their expatriate workers while companies in the green category would be allowed to select foreign workers in the other two categories and transfer their sponsorship without the approval of theirs employers.
Fakieh said the new Saudization plan has been designed to keep most private companies in the green category, adding that details of additional incentives given to Saudization-friendly companies would be announced on June 11 on the ministry's website.
The new measures came after King Abdullah set up a high-level ministerial committee to find a quick way to employ the growing number of graduates in public and private sectors.
There are more than 448,000 Saudi job seekers, including women, in a country with eight million expatriate workers. The king has ordered payment of a SR2,000 monthly allowance for the jobless.
Fakieh described the Nitaqat system as an important tool to monitor the Kingdom's job market and hoped it would accelerate employment of Saudis in the private sector. He urged private companies to create an attractive atmosphere for Saudis in terms of salaries and working conditions.
© Arab News 2011
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