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Saudi Arabia – Labour amnesty results in employment gap

08 July 2013

The struggling Saudi Arabian construction industry has had to rely on short term workers to overcome the chronic shortages in available manpower, according to arabnews. Three companies, comprising 13 recruitment firms in the Kingdom, are to hire out workers on a short-term basis to contractors needing to complete their projects.

Recruitment companies will supply workers for a year to assist construction companies and other firms in need of staff to help them finish their contracts. The move is aimed at compensating for the departure of thousands of expatriate construction workers following the labour amnesty.

The amnesty intended to allow un-sponsored or illegal workers to exit the country or find authorised work without fear of penalty. The driving force behind the policy was to meet ‘Saudisation’ targets and targets under Nitaqat, the new localisation system of jobs in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. It is believed that 20% of foreign nationals forming part of the workforce can be replaced with Saudi nationals.  

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