Expats in Saudi Arabia are to be banned from working in certain areas of the economy, the Ministry of Labour and Social Development announced on Wednesday.
The decision will come into effect from the next Hijri year, which in the Western calendar begins on 11 September 2018.
It’s understood that the measures will mostly affect lower-paid positions in retail and industry. But many observers caution this could be the first of many such initiatives aimed at bolstering the Saudi workforce.
“The decision does not affect the memorandums of understanding signed with various regional governorates to restrict jobs to Saudis.” ministry spokesman Khaled Aba al-Khail was quoted as saying.
The development comes amid a wider movement across the GCC against foreign workers, with Oman announcing similar measures against expat workers on Monday. International Investment reported on Oman’s six-month ban on visas for expats from 10 industries, as part of what it said was an effort to encourage companies to hire more Omani nationals.