3 million jobs for Saudis by 2025

The Ministry of Labor will achieve nationalization of 3 million jobs by 2025, an official of the ministry said.

“The ministry is currently striving to overcome difficulties faced by private companies in creating more job opportunities for Saudi citizens,” Undersecretary for Planning and Development at the ministry Abdullah Al-Haqabani said in a statement quoted by Al-Sharq daily yesterday.

The ministry will achieve the ambitious goal of eradicating unemployment by beefing up programs such as Hafiz and Nitaqat. It will also shortly launch a national monitoring project with the same goal, Al-Haqabani said.

The ministry has also prepared a program to monitor electronically the payment of wages to both Saudi and expatriate workers, he added.

“The wage protection program is aimed at ensuring that every worker gets his wages in full and an employer fulfills his contractual obligations,” he said.

The wage program will also end illegal cover-up businesses, where foreign workers are effectively able to own businesses in return for a monthly payment to the Saudi whose name the company is registered in, and the tendency of expatriate workers to run away, he said.

Since the wage protection program is linked to social insurance and Nitaqat it will also end the practice of a worker doing several jobs at the same time, he said.

Another feature of the wage protection program is that it keeps tabs on expatriate remittances and reveals if the worker has any undocumented sources of income.

The program will enable the ministry to monitor any amount deposited in the name of a worker and check if it matches with the contract agreements and the job for which he was recruited. “If the amount exceeds the contract agreement, it will be considered as illegally earned,” he said.

The program will be implemented in a phased manner starting with larger companies and gradually extended to smaller enterprises, but fully implemented within a year.

Al-Haqabani said the ministry would lay down projects on the basis of actual statistics of the number of unemployed workers and the number of vacancies supplied by the Hafiz and Nitaqat programs.

The ministry is also taking steps to evaluate the capabilities of graduates of educational institutions and the suitability of their specializations to cater to the needs of the job market. The ministry will benefit from the information provided by the Nitaqat program to prepare a sufficient number of graduates to replace expatriates in all areas of job specializations.

According to an earlier report, Nitaqat will be instrumental in increasing the percentage of Saudi workers in the private sector from 10 to 50 percent over the next three years.