Riyadh Saudi Arabia's concerned departments have begun a process of opening the door for employing more nationals, particularly in the public sector.
According to figures contained in a report from the Ministry of Civil Service, the body responsible for employing government sector employees, there are more than 75,000 posts filled by expatriates who can be replaced with Saudis.
The Ministry of Civil Service classifies any job occupied by a non-Saudi as "vacant" until it is filled by a Saudi.
The report, forwarded to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz noted that the approved government posts amounted to 1,098,127 of which 941,900 were filled. It added that most of the jobs held by expatriates were in the health sector and universities. Last week the finance minister urged the private sector to contribute to hiring Saudis. The official figures put the kingdom's unemployment rate at 10.5 per cent, but the unofficial figures put the rate at around 20 per cent.
Appearing on Saudi television last week following the royal orders in which the monarch ordered billions of riyals to boost housing, social security services and education for the needy, the finance minister said the king's decisions will have a positive effect on the poor and in supporting unemployed nationals.
Meanwhile, more than 100 Saudi academics, activists and businessmen have called for major reforms including the establishment of a "constitutional monarchy" in the conservative Gulf kingdom, in a statement posted yesterday on the internet. They plan to submit the request to King Abdullah [Bin Abdul Aziz] at a later stage.
By Abdul Nabi Shaheen