Oct 13 2011
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Small Saudi firms told to hire nationals
Saudi Arabia has told its small private sector establishments with fewer than nine workers they must hire at least one Saudi as part of a major job nationalization plan announced early this year, the press reported on Thursday.
The decision, to be enforced next week, will affect thousands of small firms and those not complying with the new rule will not be able to bring in foreign workers.
"The decision not affect the existing labour in the company but those which seek to import more workers will not be able to do so unless they adhere to that rule," the ministry of labour said in a statement carried in local newspapers.
The government said it would give four different classifications to firms operating in the country according to their compliance with regulations to hire more Saudis. Compliant firms will be rated as "excellent and green" and those failing to abide by the rules will be classified as "red and yellow".
Analysts described Nitaqat as the most radical measure taken by the Saudi government to force its massive private sector to employ more Saudis following the failure of previous procedures and expansion in local unemployment.
The ministry of labour, which is overseeing the initiative, said it could create more than 400,000 jobs for Saudis every year.
It said firms complying with the new rules would be rewarded while those failing to respond would be punished by depriving them from new visas and licences.
Official data unemployment in Saudi Arabia, the world's top oil exporter, stood at around 10 per cent at the end of 2010, with around 500,000 jobless Saudis.
© Emirates 24|7 2011
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