Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Civil Service has announced it is in the process of a plan to replace non-Saudis in all public sector roles.
Deputy minister of civil service Abdullah bin Ali Al-Malfi said the ministry plans to replace foreigners in at least 28,000 roles by the end of 2020, according to Saudi Press Agency.
The ministry recently held workshops with government agencies to establish a gradual timeline for transitioning foreigners out of government roles.
Al-Malfi said the majority of public sector jobs occupied by non-Saudis were in healthcare and higher education.
As part of the resettlement plan the kingdom aims to employ a number of non-Saudis as contract workers within government agencies from inside or outside the kingdom.
The ‘Wafed’ initiative will be launched in the “coming period” in coordination with the Ministry of Labour.
The deputy minister said citizens had a guaranteed right to any public sector role unless it is proven a Saudi cannot fill the position, due to a lack of qualified applicants or another reason.
Some government agencies will still have the authority to employ foreigners as specialists and consultants in healthcare and for some ranks and specialities at universities.
The announcement follows reports that nearly 500 expat workers were denied contract renewal at King Saud University.
The kingdom is also moving to replace foreigners with Saudis in private sector roles including store clerks in malls, grocery shop assistants and in leadership roles at tourism agencies.