A new law came into force in Saudi Arabia on Tuesday, September 18, ordering cornershops to employ only Saudis or risk being shut down in the government's latest drive to boost private sector jobs for locals. The move could provide an estimated 50,000 new jobs for Saudis in the omnipresent shops known as "baqalas", according to unofficial estimates.
Another law, which came into effect on Tuesday, ruled that private businesses employing more than 20 people must increase the number of Saudi nationals to 30 percent of the workforce. The labor ministry has warned establishments failing to apply the measures of "serious actions" that include being shut down.
The government has launched a campaign to reduce the number of expatriates in the kingdom, estimated at around seven million, to counter unemployment among Saudi men which the Saudi American Bank said was set to rise to 15 percent this year. — (AFP, Riyadh)
© Agence France Presse 2001
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