“About 250,000 trade, industrial and service firms have been given warnings that their work permits would not be renewed because they have so far failed to employ at least one Saudi,” Saudi media reported, quoting a high-level Labour Ministry source.
According to the Nitaqat system, there are 41 classifications of employment sectors, five company classifications based on employee tallies and four compliance-related and disciplinary zones.
The establishments which came under the poor compliance Red Category were given six-month time limit to improve their status, which came to an end last Wednesday. Available statistics released about a month ago indicated that there were 340,000 firms that did not employ any Saudis.
Additionally, last week the Saudi government announced two additions to the Nitaqat regulations. The new rules state that an expatriate worker should work only under his sponsor and the worker is not meant to perform any other job other than the one mentioned on his labour card. In addition to this, last Thursday the government also issued an order that iqama (labour card) violators will be arrested in raids.
Moreover, the Saudi government has increased the fee for renewing labour cards to SAR2,500, from SAR100, launched unannounced raids at labour camps, while at the same time restricting inter-state travel of foreign nationals, formed committees at local levels to monitor that the Nitaqat system is effectively followed, initiated strict actions against benami businesses and have issued instructions that employed Saudi nationals must be physically present in firms.