RIYADH, Saudi Arabia — Saudi Arabia will prevent foreigners from taking jobs in the country’s shopping malls, as it seeks to boost employment opportunities for citizens as part of a long-term economic overhaul.
The decision was made by the Ministry of Labor, spokesman Khaled Aba Al Khail said on Twitter, without providing details of how and when the measure would be implemented. The ministry didn’t respond to a request for comment.
Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman made job creation for Saudis a key component of the kingdom’s plan to end the economy’s oil dependence and reliance on expatriate labour. That priority is challenging in the short-term as the government cuts costs and growth slows, making it especially hard for young Saudis — nearly half of the population is under 25 — to find work.
The unemployment rate for Saudi nationals rose to 12.3 percent in the fourth quarter, from 11.5 percent a year earlier. The rate was 34.5 percent for Saudi women.
By Abbas Al Lawati in Dubai; editors: Alaa Shahine, Stuart Biggs, Amy Teibel.