Saudi Arabia blocks foreigners from working in malls

Published April 20th, 2017 - 02:01 GMT
Mall of Arabia in Jeddah. (Twitter)
Mall of Arabia in Jeddah. (Twitter)

Saudi Arabia's labor minister issued an order on Thursday to restrict employment in shopping malls to Saudi nationals, who, according to Reuters, make up only one in five staff in the retail sector. In fact, the Saudi retail sector currently employs 1.5 million workers, of whom only 300,000 are Saudis.

Read more: Saudi Arabia Accelerates Saudization By Deporting More Than 5.5M Expat Workers

Reuters reported that the kingdom has been steadily closing off different areas of employment to foreigners as it aims to create jobs for young Saudis as part a Saudization push towards the Saudi Vision 2030.

A statement from the minister for labor and social development, posted on Twitter, said the mall jobs would be "restricted to Saudi men and women," but did not elaborate on the number of jobs affected or a timeline for implementation.

The unemployment rate for Saudi nationals rose to 12.3 percent in the fourth quarter, from 11.5 percent a year earlier. The unemployment rate was 34.5 percent for Saudi women, according to Reuters. 

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