Saudi Arabia has created more than 150,000 jobs and saved hundreds of millions of riyals that used to be transferred abroad by blocking foreigners from working as drivers in the ride app sector, according to officials.
The head of the Public Transport Commission, Dr Rumaih bin Mohammed Al-Rumaih, said the barring of non-Saudis from working with ride companies Uber and Careem had increased the percentage of Saudi workers from 10 per cent to 95 per cent.
This followed a rule change barring the two firms from employing non-Saudis directly that was first reported in October.
Al-Rumaih said the initiative had helped create 167,000 job opportunities for Saudi citizens, with the number of drivers aged 22 to 25 reaching 45,156, and improved customer satisfaction.
Public Transport Commission chief deputy Fawaz Al-Sehli added the decision had saved hundreds of millions of riyals in foreign remittances and boosted job opportunities.
The kingdom is moving ahead with plans to bar foreigners from a number of other sectors and roles to decrease Saudi unemployment including grocery shops, stores selling female-specific items, car rental offices and management roles at tourism firms.
Non-Saudis found to be working for ride hailing applications face a fine and possible deportation.