Saudi Arabia’s shopping malls must only hire Saudis under new labor rules, the latest in a raft of initiatives aimed at increasing local employment.
Human Resources and Social Development Minister Ahmed bin Sulaiman Al-Rajhi issued 3 new labor directives that are set to transform the country’s retail and restaurant sector, creating 51,000 jobs for Saudi men and women, he said in a statement on Wednesday.
Gulf governments, under pressure to provide more jobs for citizens amid declining oil revenues, are extending localization programs across industries that have in the past relied heavily on expatriates.
The first directive stipulated that only Saudis would be able to work in “closed commercial complexes (malls)” and their management offices.
A limited number of roles would be exempt, but the ministry did not specify which ones.
The other rule changes were related to raising the number of Saudis working in the restaurant, cafe and catering trade.
The statement did not specify what the new Saudization rates would be across these sectors.
It is the latest government move to boost the number of Saudis in the workforce. In February, the government introduced restrictions on outsourcing of customer care services through foreign call centers. The previous month, Saleh Al-Jasser, Saudi Minister of Transport and Chairman of the Public Transport Authority (PTA), approved 100 percent Saudization of ride-hailing services.
Other Saudization initiatives announced this year include a goal of 30 % nationals in accountancy, while a target of 20 % was set for engineering in August 2020.