RIYADH — The Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development (MHRSD) has stated that no work permits will be issued for the newly hired foreign workers of companies and establishments that fall within the yellow category of the Updated Nitaqat Saudization program.

The ministry made this clarification with regard to queries about the possibility of issuing a work permit for the newly hired foreign workers in the establishments that are within the yellow category of the Updated Nitaqat program.

It further added that the work permit of the foreign worker in the yellow category establishment would not be renewed in the event of the worker spending more than six years in Saudi Arabia.

A few years ago, the ministry decided to eliminate the yellow band of the Nitaqat program effective from January 26, 2020. The decision was to automatically transform yellow-rated companies to the red band and to consider noncompliant with Saudization levels until their rating improves. Such downgraded companies would not be able to apply for new visas for foreign nationals, change foreign workers’ professions or renew work permits until their ratings improve.

The ministry started implementing the Updated Nitaqat program for all private-sector companies and establishments from Dec.1 2021. This was in line with the ministry’s labor market strategy that aims to enhance market efficiency and provide new attractive jobs for young Saudi men and women.

It is worth mentioning that the Updated Nitaqat program aims to increase and expand job opportunities, and raise the participation of Saudi male and female citizens in the labor market, and thus contributing to the Kingdom’s gross domestic product (GDP). The program, which comes in line with the other localization programs launched by the ministry, targets to create more than 340,000 jobs within three years. The first version of the Nitaqat program was launched in 2011, which aimed to encourage the localization of jobs and set a minimum wage for Saudis in the private sector.

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