Saudi unemployment rate hits 15%

Published May 30th, 2011 - 09:13 GMT

Adel Faqih, the Saudi Minister of Labor said the new "bands" program which is expected to be applied soon will stop 99% of the corruption involved in the visas trading activity in the Kingdom.

The Minister of Labor held a meeting with businessmen in Jeddah in order to share details of the new system. He stressed that the situation in the Saudi private sector does not exist in any other country in the world, where 90% of the employees are foreign, while Saudi nationals do not represent more than 10% of the labor force.

He said that the new program aims at stimulating enterprises to the localization of the labor force. Faqih called for strong cooperation between the government and the private sector in addressing the challenge of unemployment.

Faqih mentioned that the current rate of unemployment in Saudi Arabia exceeds 15%, while in the past two years over 2 million working visas were issued by the Saudi authorities.

Currently, more than 6.5 million foreigners are working in the Saudi private sector compared to only 700,000 Saudi nationals.

The Minister revealed that the new program is only one of ten programs expected to be applied during the coming period. "In the short term, we will apply this program but other programs will follow", he said.


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