The history of unemployment in Saudi Arabia has been a decades-long struggle, and considered among the biggest challenges facing the Saudi Arabian government.

In an effort to decrease the number of unemployed, the government of Saudi Arabia introduced the Saudization program in an attempt to create jobs for Saudi job seekers. 

The main objective of this program was to maximize efforts in decreasing labor opportunities for foreign workers, while increasing the number of opportunities for Saudis.

Training the citizens and enabling them to enter into various fields was a big step.

Saudi Arabia’s history of reliance on foreign workers began in the 70’s and was initially important for Saudi Arabia’s economic development, as there were not enough trained Saudi Arabian nationals at the time. The government relied heavily on foreign workers as a result of the lack of educated Saudi Arabian workers. The Saudi Arabian government invested a large amount of money in the education system in the 1970, with a primary goal of replacing the foreign workers with Saudi workers.

The term Saudization appeared when our wise government decided to localize the sectors by placing one Saudi employee for every 3 non-Saudi employees. In 1975,  the Kingdom’s efforts to invest in the Saudi human capital.Training the local people to be qualified for jobs is a must in order to remedy the high unemployment rate in Saudi Arabia.

The goal of Saudization

The dependence on foreign workers at that time was not an option. Recruiting foreign workers was essential to train Saudis to gain the skills and prove themselves in the field. Nowadays, proudly we can say that Saudization was a solution to many of the problems of Saudi society. As one of the goals of Vision 2030 is to reduce the unemployment rate from 11.6% to 7%.

About 12 million forign worker in the Kingdom in all jobs and specialties, and every job occupied by a foreigner may be on a day there is an opportunity to localize it. In 2018, a decision was issued by the Council of Ministers, that sales points in 12 professions should rely on employing Saudi men and women. The limitation of these jobs to Saudis led to a gradual decrease in the unemployment rate from 12.9% to 12.5% within one year.

Saudization supports economic activityIn order to improve the quality of living and exploit the country’s natural resources and local energies. The Kingdom took several steps to evaluate the quality of citizen’s life, especially after the increase in foreign remittances during the year 2020. While emittances reached 40 billion dollars, the Kingdom started to control economic activity and the localization of sectors was the step that made the difference in a short period

The Kingdom’s interest in the localization of sectors led to an increase in the work of local investors and helped expand their activities. In the recent period, local companies and new SME have appeared on the market.

Governmental Procedures

As part of supporting Saudization requirements, the government raised the cost of foreign labor in addition to some restrictions. The government is doing it’s best to provide an appropriate training and rehabilitation environment for citizens. 

The Kingdom began in July 2020 to employ saudis pharmacists and it will be raised up to 3,000 by 2020.

A wise decision was implemented, which is to stop the renewal of some residency permits for residents in the Kingdom. Specifically certain professions such as the clerk of personnel affairs, the director of labor and workers affairs, the treasurer, the accountant of clients and others. After all these great decisions that will help the Saudi citizen, the spirit of enthusiasm appeared and all the ways were available to help the citizen to take off.

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