Saudi Arabia restricts human resources jobs to citizens

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Saudi Ministry mandates exclusive hiring of Saudis for human resources positions.

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia, March 26: Saudi Arabia has announced that human resources positions within the kingdom will be reserved exclusively for Saudi nationals, as part of efforts to increase employment opportunities for its citizens. The confirmation came from the Saudi Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development, following a query from a concerned citizen who reported being interviewed by a foreigner for a human resources role at a medical center.

Simultaneously, the ministry disclosed the implementation of the second phase of a decree aimed at localizing consultancy services professions, requiring 40 percent of the overall workforce in these roles to be Saudi nationals. This initiative follows the first phase, which came into effect in April of the previous year, mandating that 35 percent of employees in consultancy services must be Saudis.

In recent years, Saudi Arabia has embarked on various initiatives under the umbrella of its “Saudisation” labor policy, aimed at increasing the employment of its citizens and reducing reliance on foreign workers across multiple sectors, including education, telecommunications, and real estate.

Earlier this year, Saudi Arabia announced plans to partially localize engineering jobs, with the decision slated to take effect on July 21. The initiative aims to Saudize 25 percent of engineering professions in private sector establishments with a minimum of five workers each in these roles.

In December, the kingdom introduced measures to localize sales, purchases, and project management positions. The Ministry of Human Resources outlined that sales professions would initially be Saudized by 15 percent, covering roles such as sales manager, retail sales manager, sales specialist, wholesale manager, information technology and telecom equipment specialist, and sales agent.

Additionally, Saudi Arabia unveiled plans in September to localize the dental profession, setting an initial target of 35 percent Saudization as of March. The Ministry of Health pledged to monitor the implementation of this decision to enhance Saudi participation in the labor market. Private sector entities complying with localization initiatives stand to benefit from incentives and support programs offered by the Ministry of Human Resources, including assistance in recruiting qualified employees, training, employment continuity, and access to Saudi employment support programs.

Furthermore, in December 2022, Saudi Arabia implemented a decree to localize employment in postal services and parcel transport across the kingdom, demonstrating its ongoing commitment to prioritize job opportunities for Saudi nationals. Additionally, the kingdom is rolling out a regional employment program aimed at further empowering its citizens in the workforce.

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