Only Saudi nationals will be allowed to work as dentists in the kingdom under new regulations, according to local media reports.
The Saudi Ministry of Labour and Social Development has said that it will stop recruiting dentists from outside the country, local daily Arab News reported.
The move, set to be coordinated by the ministries of labour and health, is aimed at reducing unemployment among Saudi dentists and dental school graduates, the report said.
According to ministry figures, the kingdom currently has 26 dental colleges, including eight private institutions. Approximately 3,000 dental graduates enter the labour market annually.
The number of officially registered dentists in the Saudi stood at 10,150 as of 2015, including 5,946 Saudi nationals, Saudi Gazette reported.
Meanwhile, 2,525 expatriate dentists reportedly work at government dental clinics.
In May last year, a Saudi dentist posted a video clip online in which he was seen burning his university degree certificate after failing to find a job for two years.
The man said he obtained a degree in dentistry from Jordan University of Science and Technology but couldn’t land a job in any Health Ministry hospital.
Saudi has been nationalising the workforce in several sectors in a bid to reduce the local unemployment rate.
There were reports last August that Saudi was planning to nationalise all health and automobile sales and rental jobs in the kingdom.
In February, the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA) issued a directive stating most jobs within the motor insurance industry must be Saudised.
SAMA said the new rule would come into effect on July 2.
The kingdom also announced a sudden rule to nationalise its mobile market last year.
In March 2016, mobile shop owners were told they had three months to make sure 50 per cent of their staff were Saudi and six months to completely Saudise their workforce.
This resulted in the closure of thousands of shops due to owners deeming them unprofitable with the higher salaries demanded by Saudi staff or inspections from the government to crack down on violators.