Kochi: With Nitaqat coming into force in the mobile phone retail sector in Saudi Arabia on Friday, more Keralites are preparing to return home amid fears of job loss.
The Saudi Labour Ministry is planning to entirely replace expat workers with natives in telecom sector jobs as part of Saudization. The Ministry had set September 2 as deadline for mobile phone shops in the country to implement Nitaqat.
Many are coming back home amid fears that they may have to face legal action if they continue in the job. Some of them are planning to stay back and search for a new job in country.
The Ministry has also intensified checks at all retail outlets in the country to ensure that they abide by the law. As the authorities tightened their grip, over 2,000 shops have downed their shutters. Hundreds of Keralites who were working in the shops have lost their jobs.
Apart from mobile retail outlets, businesses dealing with maintenance works are also laying off foreign workers.
Meanwhile, some shop owners are trying to convert their mobile phone outlets into shops selling electronic or fancy items. However, this needs separate licence.
As part of Saudization, the government is giving training to natives to work in these sectors.