‘Hire Saudi’ Crown Prince Tells His Government

Filed under: International,Labor,News |

Perhaps inspired by the unemployment-fueled uprisings in other Arab nations, Saudi Crown Prince Naif bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, deputy premier and minister of interior, has  issued new directives “aimed at tackling unemployment amongst the increasingly large number of Saudi graduates,” according to a 1 Nov. 2011 report in The Saudi Gazzette.

The Gazzette reports that specific numbers have been set for hiring of Saudi nationals in what has been termed “Saudization” of the kingdom’s workforce. For decades, Saudi Arabia has relied on workers from other nations to operate nearly every sector of its economy.

Crown Prince Naif bin Abdulaziz Al Saud

Crown Prince Naif bin Abdulaziz Al Saud

According to official statistics, there are more than 448,000 Saudi jobseekers, including women, in a country with eight million expatriate workers, Arab News reported in May 2011. Saudi Arabia’s total population was about 28.8 million as of January 2010, according to the U.S. State Department.

According to The Saudi Gazzette:

The Ministry of Health is to employ 14,000 health diploma holders and 28,552 graduates in other health-related fields. Crown Prince Naif also directed other departments to absorb 4,000 graduates and the private sector to absorb a further 6,000.

Each government ministry should implement the plan within a timeline and a deadline. It will be held accountable in case of any failure, a source said.

In a nation where women play almost no role in public life, the Crown Prince also called for “women’s sections” to be set up within the government to create job opportunities for women.

According to reports from the U.S. State Department, Saudi Arabia’s public sector hiring has rife with corruption, nepotism and cronyism. The Crown Prince and other officials are at least making the appearance of cleaning up and opening up government hiring.

The Saudi Gazzette also reported that the Crown Prince “directed all government departments and emirates to support the work of the Control and Investigation Board (CIB) and facilitate visits by its its inspection teams.”

The Control and Investigation Board is the part of the Saudi criminal justice system in charge of investigating public curruption.

In May, the Saudi labor ministry indicated it is also planning for the Saudization of private industry

“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,” Saudi Labor Minister Adel Fakieh said in an Arab News article

Under the plan, private companies in Saudi Arabia would be classified into green, yellow and red categories depending on their performance in the Saudization of jobs. Companies in the red category cannot renew work visas of  expatriate workers. Companies in the green category will be allowed to select foreign workers. Businesses in other two categories and transfer their sponsorship of foreign workers without approval.

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