Saudi Arabia has decided to reduce the foreign workforce across the country, Anadolu reported on Sunday. Jobs in at least 12 sectors, including hotels and tourism, will be affected. The decision came after a similar move in retail, communication and insurance to “Saudi-ise” the workforce.
According to Abdullah Al-Tawi, the deputy assistant to the Governor of Makkah and the person responsible for development affairs, it has been decided to concentrate on hotels and tourism initially as they are the most obvious sectors in the holy city with jobs filled by non-Saudi citizens. He did not mention which other sectors will be affected.
The General Committee for Tourism and National Heritage in Saudi Arabia announced last week that work in the departments which provide tourist visas is now dedicated exclusively to Saudi citizens.
In March, the Ministry of Employment in Riyadh signed contracts to employ 2,200 Saudi citizens in macro-companies in the tourism sector. A further 33,000 jobs are planned to be filled by Saudis in this sector by the end of 2018.
The move to reduce the foreign workforce is part of the 2020 Saudi Economic Plan which is considered to be of the most important bases of the 2030 National Vision. The latest statistics show that unemployment increased to 12.7 per cent in the first quarter of this year, compared to 12.3 per cent at the end of last year.