Saudi Arabia bans 107 firms from employing foreign workers


Sulaiman Al-Misyadi, general manager of Fares Bundugji Establishment, one of the 107 companies, welcomed the ministry’s push for Saudization but said one of the reasons his company had been banned is that their core business is in cleaning and that very few Saudis are interested in such jobs. He said a large number of Saudis had applied for jobs and been employed as supervisors but that most of them then left after a short time in search of new careers.

The statement issued by the ministry yesterday said that according to the Social Insurance Administration, the banned companies have 100 or more foreign workers with a Saudization percentage of 1 percent or less. The statement said that the ministry aimed to limit violations by companies and institutes by ending unemployment.

The Saudization requirement applies to any company with 20 or more employees. Nearly three years ago the Cabinet placed the Saudization requirement on any company with 20 or more employees.

In an Arab News report published Feb. 27, the minister expressed hopes that the next national dialogue forum, which will address unemployment and labor market issues, would be able to find a radical solution to the complex problem.

The official unemployment rate among Saudi men is put at nine percent and among women at 22 percent. The CIA Fact Book cites local bank estimates that put the unemployment rate at 13 percent among Saudi males. According to some estimates, it is as high as 25 percent. The figures are for 2004.

According to an independent marketing research report, 50 percent of Saudis are under the age of 19 and 75 percent are under 35 years of age. Hundreds of young Saudis complain of unemployment and if they land a job in the private sector, the pay, according to most of them, is not enough to allow them to marry and establish a home. On the other hand, the young Saudis’ critics — the Saudi employers — blame the education system for not producing what the market needs.

In an interview carried recently in the local media, Minister of Labor Ghazi Al-Gosaibi said that it was not Saudi youth who are not ready for Saudization but companies.

Last month, he said that his ministry was targeting between 50 and 60 major companies in the Kingdom in its inspection program and planned to make them examples in order to encourage smaller companies to follow the law.

“We intend to target big companies so smaller companies can learn a lesson,” he said speaking to graduates at the ministry on Feb. 28.

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