The Saudi Ministry of Civil Service has ordered all expatriate workers employed in the civil service to be laid off within three years, Saudi Gazette, the country’s English-language daily, reported on May 10.
The move comes as the Gulf kingdom attempts to create more jobs for its citizens under a wide-ranging drive that began last year to diversify the oil-dependent economy.
Known as Vision 2030, the plan calls for the development of non-oil industries, small and medium enterprises, and a broader investment base.
“There will be no expatriate workers in the government after 2020,” Deputy Minister for Civil Service Abdullah Al-Melfil was quoted as saying in a meeting in Riyadh on Monday.
There were roughly 70,000 expats working in the public sector at the end of last year, he added, “The complete nationalization of government jobs is an important objective of the National Transformation Program 2020 and the Kingdom’s Vision 2030.”
The meeting, which focused on the “Saudisation” plan by 2020, was followed by a workshop titled “Job nationalisation”, the gazette stated.
A number of dignitaries and experts in human resources management working in a number of ministries, departments and universities attended the meeting and participated in the workshop.
Officials at the meeting discussed various challenges the government continues to face regarding nationalisation in the country.
Earlier in February, the Saudi Gazette reported more than 39,000 Pakistanis have been deported from Saudi Arabia since November 2016.
Referring to the security sources, the newspaper in its report said that the deportations were made for “violating the rules of residence and work”.
Later in April, the country’s labour ministry barred foreigners from working in Saudi Arabia’s numerous shopping malls, in the latest measure to boost employment of Saudis.