The decision not to renew the work permits of foreign workers who have spent six years in the country is believed to be an effort to create jobs for Saudi nationals.
“The current situation calls for strong cooperation between the government and the private sector in solving the problem of unemployment with hundreds of thousands looking for work,” Adel Fakieh, minister of labour, told the Al Hayat newspaper.
It is feared the labour scheme, which states all firms in the country must employ a minimum of 10% Saudi Arabian nationals, will significantly affect labouring industries. More than 80% of all those employed in the Kingdom are non-nationals.
The move is being interpreted as an attempt to reduce the Kingdom’s unemployment rate, which according to statistics currently stands at around 10.5%.
It has not yet been revealed when the decision would be implemented, or which sectors of the job market will be affected.
In a statement, John Leonard Monterona, Migrante Middle East regional coordinator is reported as saying the scheme “is the right decision or action a government could do if it faces high rate of unemployment among its own citizens”.