Gold and jewellery shops in Saudi Arabia will be fined SAR20,000 ($5,330) per expat worker when 100 per cent Saudisation of the sector comes into force on December 3.
The kingdom’s Ministry of Labour and Social Development also plans to install permanent inspectors at every market and mall, allowing them to conduct surprise inspections and punish Saudisation violations.
There are more than 6,000 gold and jewellery shops in Saudi Arabia, hiring around 25,000 workers, including expatriates.
Members of the precious metal and stone committee at the Council of Saudi Chambers have appealed to officials for more time to ensure Saudisation is properly in place before issuing fines.
Committee member Abdul Mohsen Al-Namir, told local news outlet Saudi Gazette that Saudisation rates in the sector do not currently exceed 50 per cent. He appealed to the Ministry of Labour and Social Development to study the reasons behind the slow progress of Saudisation and allow shops enough time to deal with the issue.
Earlier this year the ministry reportedly halted the operations of nearly one million companies for violating Saudisation requirements.
Arabic publiication Al Watan wrote in August that 739,701 private firms were suspended and another 255,356 were in a precarious position under the Nitaqat system.
Nitaqat categorises companies based on the percentage of Saudis in the workforce and imposes either limits or preferential treatment in areas like the granting of visas for foreign workers.