Saudi Minister Seeks “Saudization” of Jobs Amid Unemployment

Saudi Arabia’s Labor Minister is seeking the “Saudization” of the kingdom’s private sector amid rising unemployment and unease following uprisings in other Arab nations.

Saudi Arabia's Labor Minister Adel Fakieh
Saudi Arabia’s Labor Minister Adel Fakieh

Saudi Arabia’s unemployment rate was 10.8%  in July. The country will begin to pay unemployment benefits for the first time from November,  Saudi Labor Minister Adel Fakieh, told Bloomberg News.

In 2012 the Saudi government will encourage hiring more Saudi nationals in the kingdom’s private sector, he said.

In March the Ministry of Labor began working to reduce unemployment in an effort to prevent the kinds of popular uprisings that have swept North Africa and the Middle East.

In May, Arab News reported:

According to official statistics, there are more than 448,000 Saudi jobseekers, including women, in a country with eight million expatriate workers.

Labor Minister Adel Fakieh said private companies would be classified into green, yellow and red categories considering their performance in the Saudization of jobs.

“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.

He said 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.

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From the Saudi Gazette:

JEDDAH — Adel Fakieh, Minister of Labor, will discuss his ministry’s strategy for the endogenizing of jobs in the first session of the Human Resources Forum 2011 set to open today (02 Oct 2011) at the Jeddah Hilton.
Sources told Saudi Gazette that a lecture on how to achieve an excellent level in the nationalization program will be delivered during the forum. More than 600 participants, consisting of businessmen, government officials and local and foreign experts will attend the three-day event.
The forum is being held under the slogan “Local Capacities for Better Competitiveness”.
Three workshops will be held and Fakieh will preside over the first one titled “The strategy of employing qualified Saudis in the private sector.”
More than 50 prominent businessmen are expected to attend the workshop.
The second session of the first day will discuss the role of union activities set by the International Labor Organization.

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