Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Labour and Social Development is reportedly stepping up inspections of stores selling mobile phones and accessories as a June deadline to Saudise 50 per cent of jobs nears.
Under new rules announced in March, companies in the industry must ensure half of their workforce is Saudi by Ramadan, expected to fall on June 6, and 100 per cent by September 2.
Ministry spokesperson Khaled Abalkhail said the inspection department of the ministry had “rolled up its sleeves to carry out inspection rounds”, according to local publication Saudi Gazette.
He said the ministry had prepared training programmes to allow Saudi nationals to be employed in the mobile sector, including incentives and grants for Saudi entrepreneurs.
Around 15,000 Saudi men and 4,000 women were ready to enter the industry after taking training in customer service, sales and maintenance, Abalkhail added.
A second local publication, Arab News, reported that the new rules had resulted in some shops closing down to allow workers to correct their status or to change the business type.
It said some mobile shops had still posted vacancy notices for Saudis and expats due to uncertainty regarding Saudis’ willingness to take up positions.
Bandar Abdulaziz, a shop owner, said that many were also afraid of employing Saudis because of the perception that they are not are not as “serious and hardworking” as expatriates, according to the publication. They also believe Saudis need more time to gain expertise needed by the industry, he said.