Some 800,000 Filipino workers are at risk of losing their jobs in Saudi Arabia as the kingdom steps up its campaign to fill posts with nationals to combat unemployment, reported the official Iranian news agency, IRNA, on Saturday.
Unemployment in the oil-rich country is rising by 15 percent annually as job openings are filled by foreign workers, said the agency, citing a newspaper.
The Manila Standard daily reported that the Saudi government intended to trim the expatriate work force from more than seven million to one million within the next 30 years.
Philippine Ambassador to Riyadh Rafael Seguis was quoted as saying by the daily, "As of July 21, some 6,000 jewelry shops in the kingdom can hire only Saudi nationals in sales, administration and financial aspects of the shops' operations."
Foreigners make up a third of the 23 million-strong work force in Saudi Arabia.
They remit at least $18.6 billion to their respective countries every year, the newspaper said.
King Fahd earlier issued a directive to replace expatriates in the cleaning and maintenance departments of government offices.
The country will also stop hiring guest workers at supermarkets and furniture and appliance shops.
However, Seguis said that Saudi Arabia remained the top destination for Filipino workers, and that there would still be a lot of requests for skilled and professional workers there, according to IRNA – Albawaba.com
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