DammamSaudi ArabiaSaudization

Several Shops ‘Shutting Down’ Ahead of September 11 Deadline

Several shops in Saudi Arabia are shutting down as the deadline looms for the Saudisation of certain retail businesses, local media reported.

From September 11, automobile and motorbike shops, shops selling readymade garments and children’s and men’s wear, home, and office furnishing stores and household utensil outlets will have to ensure that 70 percent of their employees are Saudi nationals.

The move will coincide with the Islamic New Year, which is expected to fall on September 10 or 11, depending on the sighting of the moon.

Stores in Riyadh, Dammam, and Madinah have already started to rationalize their workforce, as the Saudi Labour and Social Development ministry begins inspections to ensure compliance, Saudi daily Okazreported.

However, a number of stores have also been forced to shut down since they remain heavily reliant on expatriates, the report added.

The new Saudisation regulation, announced in January, will also apply to jobs in other retail segments.

It will take effect at the store selling electronic and electric appliances, watches and eyeglasses on November 9, 2018.

Meanwhile, stores offering medical equipment and devices, building materials, car spare parts, carpets and rugs, and confectionary shops will have to Saudise their workforce by January 7, 2019.

Bank of America Merrill Lynch (BofAML) said in a February report that “tens of thousands” of expats could lose their jobs under the restrictions, although there was no specific data available.