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Nitaqat program generates 1.5 million jobs for Saudis

The government’s Nitaqat program has doubled the number of jobs for Saudis since it was introduced three years ago, from 723,894 to over 1.46 million, a Ministry of Labor official revealed recently.
This was the government’s most successful Saudization program to date, said Ahmad Al-Humaidan, undersecretary for labor affairs at the ministry. Al-Humaidan was delivering a paper on the challenges facing the economy at a scientific conference at King Abdulaziz University in Jeddah.
He said wages have also risen. The number of those who earn less than SR3,000 has decreased from 356,806 employees to only 109,654, while those earning more than SR3,000 increased from 376,087 to over 1.3 million.
Al-Humaidan said the government has introduced several short and long term measures to tackle the country’s labor market, including initiatives to make the private sector attractive for Saudi jobseekers.
Challenges facing the Labor Ministry include a shortage of workers, the difficulties facing Saudi jobseekers, the gap in wages between foreigners and locals, bogus nationalization of jobs, expatriates working for people other than their sponsors, and the mismatch between education outputs and market needs.
Al-Humaidan said the ministry’s actions to tackle these obstacles include improving the competitiveness of Saudi employees, raising the cost of recruiting foreign workers with the SR2,400 levy and other fees, free movement of expatriate workers inside the country, amending working hours and days off, and the wage protection system.
The ministry has also improved its systems and administration. It has linked its databases with the Ministry of Interior and the General Organization for Social Insurance, and introduced several e-services.
In addition, he said, the ministry has set a minimum wage of SR3,000 for Saudis employed under Nitaqat, and helped the private sector with Saudization costs.

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