Indian expats to be hit as Nitaqat expanding to more sectors

Siraj Kasim

The decision is part of ‘Vision-2030’ unveiled by the government

Kochi: In a move that could put Indian expatriates under pressure, Saudi Arabia has decided to expand its Nitaqat law to more sectors as part of the sweeping reforms announced by the government on Monday.

Nitaqat refers to the Saudi government’s policy of replacing foreign workers with Saudi nationals in private sector jobs. The latest move is part of ‘Vision-2030’ unveiled by the government to bring in widespread economic reforms in the country.

With this move, the telecom sector will be covered under the ambit of the law after it was introduced in mobile phone sales sector. The government expects this decision to help overcome security-related challenges faced in this sector. The telecom sector should implement 50 percent ‘Saudization’ by June 6 and the process should be completed by the first week of September.

Law prohibiting appointment of foreigners in labour and human resource departments in private sector companies will also come into effect shortly. The government has already prepared a blueprint for this, which proposes to impose a penalty of 20,000 Saudi riyals per staff against the company which violates the rule.

Foreign nationals working in these sectors can either move to other sectors or leave the country, the government said.

The country is also mulling to initiate ‘indigenization’ in marketing, accounting and clerical jobs.

In its latest order, the government has asked big trade centres to maintain a separate section for mobile phone sales and they should ensure that no foreigners are employed in this segment. The government, meanwhile, has started training programmes for Saudi youth in telecom sector jobs.

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