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Saudi Arabia bars foreigners from working at shopping malls

Published Apr 20, 2017 11:14pm


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Foreigners will no longer be allowed to work in Saudi Arabia's numerous shopping malls, the labour ministry announced on Thursday, in the latest measure to boost employment of Saudis.

The kingdom has intensified efforts to develop more jobs for its citizens under a wide-ranging drive that began last year to diversify the oil-dependent economy.

Known as Vision 2030, the plan calls for the development of non-oil industries, small and medium enterprises, and a broader investment base.

“The Minister of Labour and Social Development issues a decision restricting the work in malls across the kingdom to only Saudi men and women,” the ministry said on Twitter.

There were no further details on how or when the plan would be implemented.

It is the latest step aimed at boosting local employment in a country where expatriates do everything from cleaning the streets, to waiting on tables and providing management expertise.

About nine million foreigners worked in the kingdom at the end of 2015, according to latest official figures. Saudis have traditionally preferred jobs in the public sector, where hours are shorter and leave is longer, but the government is trying to cut its payroll.

It has for years offered incentives for companies to employ more Saudis and sanctioned those which did not meet targets.

Under new measures, the monthly fees paid by those who hire more foreign workers than Saudis will be increased, and in July the government plans to impose a levy on foreign workers with dependents, according to a government document seen by Bloomberg News.

In the third quarter of last year the unemployment rate for Saudi females was 34.5 per cent, compared with 5.7 per cent for Saudi males, figures cited by the firm Jadwa Investment showed.


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Comments (27) Closed

Marata Apr 20, 2017 11:23pm

But how you will implement this new Law, when your own citizen have not approach to even basic level they are Royal and they did not want to do the job so why foreigner like Poor pakistanis suffer.

sl Apr 21, 2017 12:58am

Time for filpino and indian workers to pack.

Ady Apr 21, 2017 01:15am

Good move. But question is will the royal saudi be willing to work?

wasim Apr 21, 2017 01:19am

too bad they could not just tell them to work and or make room for them!, if one cannot speak the language of the people of saudi arabia then why and how will there be relation between! cannot they prerequisit the speaking of arabic?

M. Emad Apr 21, 2017 01:25am

Most Saudi men are lazy. They need some fitness exercise !

stevenson Apr 21, 2017 01:27am

Looks like Saudi Arabia is having more and more financial problems.

IMTIAZ ALI KHAN Apr 21, 2017 01:30am

Yet another reason my Indian and Pakistani families to come together and open these borders and do business together reap the dividends and grow love the best healing energy. No brother of mine has to suffer in the harsh environment of a KSA and their treatment given by the Kafala system and Kafeel. Those of my brothers from IndoPak working in GCC and their families and friends knows far too well.

IndoPak Blood Brothers 4 Life!

Saif Zulfiqar Apr 21, 2017 01:37am

Whenever Saudi issue new laws, they always back fires.

A shah Apr 21, 2017 01:43am

A big ship slowly sinking.

anony Apr 21, 2017 01:55am

Their country, their rules.

anony Apr 21, 2017 01:56am

@Marata Not just Pakistanis. I believe there are more Indians working jobs in Saudi Arabia than from any other country.

Sharma Apr 21, 2017 02:19am

@Marata It is not easy to be implemented especially with current mind set of locals.

BYSTANDER Apr 21, 2017 02:36am

Something tells me the service level at Saudi Malls is about to drop significantly. Would these malls remain choice place of shopping for the customers? Will foreign brands operating in the malls be happy with this? This should be interesting to see.

Syed husain Apr 21, 2017 03:14am

I really look forward to seeing the Saudi men and women taking up menial jobs. Seeing will be believing it!

Persad Apr 21, 2017 04:25am

What kind of law is that? Always immigrants are in trouble.

Power Apr 21, 2017 04:41am

While I have to congratulate the country's leaders for looking out for their own citizens first, anyone who has worked in the Middle East knows that the locals do not contribute as much as an expat worker does in any company. Unfortunately, decades of lifestyle on oil money has now led the younger generation of Middle East the feel entitled. Many jobs that an expat worker will gladly accept, seems "lowly" to a local worker. I wish Saudi Arabia all the best

morehamhead Apr 21, 2017 05:11am

They clearly don't appreciate many of the jobs are not customer facing, but involve back breaking toil or boredom e.g security, cleaning and logistics.

They have hopefully given a big boost to the non fossil fuel economy.

Abrar Apr 21, 2017 06:07am

But who will teach Saudis "how to work?" Work is something "foreign" to Saudis, like foreign workers!"

Shubs Apr 21, 2017 08:19am

Let's see how Saudis convert from entitled uneducated louts to professionals of any kind.

bharat Apr 21, 2017 09:45am


Sir, we must cooperate more but opening borders is not possible. Step by step we should improve relations.

prasHantJain Apr 21, 2017 09:53am

Good, they have right to take steps in there own interest

xyz -indian Apr 21, 2017 10:08am

@IMTIAZ ALI KHAN :- Agreed, SARC needs to be a free economic zone , with separate political identity . People should be allowed to move freely.

Sid dhukka Apr 21, 2017 07:42pm

Saudi royal family members are lazeist people on planet earth . They will never work long hours .

This would affects immigrants from all .

IMTIAZ ALI KHAN Apr 21, 2017 07:54pm

@xyz -indian Right yaar come and meditate with my Sindhu dharti and let me come and visit my Fakir friend in Shridi and go see Ajmeri Sarakar, pray at Jal Mandir or beautiful Golden temple. Come on friends rise above.

abdul sheikh Apr 22, 2017 08:07am

Retail Jobs are low paid job. This speaks the volume of troubled Saudi economy.

Shahzad Apr 22, 2017 03:21pm

A good move by KSA. But who will clean the bathrooms in the malls?

Tasveer Hussain Apr 23, 2017 06:27pm

Its game of demand and supply. Saudies need to look their future and not of the Indians, Pakistanies and bengalies.we need to plan for our youth and look for new evenues like malaysia , korea , china , and not the gulf