Saudi Arabia axes 71% of expats in government jobs

Pedro Gonçalves
Saudi Arabia axes 71% of expats in government jobs

The Saudi Arabian Council of Ministers has terminated the contracts of 71% of expatriates working in mainly the health and education public sectors.

The Ministry of Civil Service is now tasked with find qualified Saudis to fill vacancies created by the termination of contracts of expat workers.

Over 90% of expatriates employed in government positions are found in the education and health sectors, with around 60,000 employed by the public sector during 2017.

Numbers of government employees including both Saudi nationals and expats are thought to total some 1.23 million, with Saudis accounting for 95% of the total.

There were about 60,000 expatriates working in the public sector last year, according to a statistical report by the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA).

According to statistics of the Ministry of Civil Service, the education and health sectors are still attracting expat workers.

Along with Kuwait, Saudi Arabia is implementing reforms to shift the workforce imbalance amidst criticism that the employment of national citizens should be a priority.

However, the lack of qualified professionals in different sectors is hampering recruitment.

“Companies can’t hire nationals just to achieve the numbers, because later on, it will affect productivity and lead to catastrophic scenarios,” Faisal Shanfari, general manager for shared services at Oman Oil Marketing Company, said, highlighting the need to shift the nationalisation strategy from a numbers game to a quality game.

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