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New incentives for Nitaqat-compliant employers planned

Labor Minister Adel Fakeih, second right, meets with officials during an Eid Al-Fitr ceremony at the ministry in Riyadh on Sunday. (SPA)

By P.K. ABDUL GHAFOUR | ARAB NEWS

Published: Sep 4, 2011 23:20 Updated: Sep 4, 2011 23:20

JEDDAH: Private companies employing Saudis will receive a spate of benefits and incentives from Saturday (Sept. 10) when the Nitaqat Saudization system enters a new phase, said Labor Minister Adel Fakeih on Sunday.

“In addition to the incentives already declared, private employers will enjoy additional ones from the beginning of next Hijrah year (Nov. 26),” he said, adding that the new phase would bring about a dramatic improvement in the employment of Saudis in the private sector.

He said the ministry has received applications from 1.5 million Saudi jobseekers during the last few weeks. “We’ll finalize the list in November and this will enable us to provide the private sector with an adequate number of Saudi workers they require,” he said.

Fakeih said the ministry would start imposing punishments on companies in the red category from Nov. 26 and urged companies that are below their Saudization targets to correct their situations immediately.

“This will be the last chance for them to improve,” the minister said.

Fakeih said the ministry has presented to the Supreme Economic Council a number of new regulations related to the Kingdom’s labor market, adding that the council was finalizing these.

“We’ll start providing incentives to deserving employers from the start of the new Hijrah year (1433H),” the minister said.

He said the Nitaqat system is linked by the computer systems of various government departments. “As a result, companies in the red category will not be able to renew the work permits as well as iqamas of their workers. This will also make any foul play with regard to evading Saudization rules impossible,” he said.

Fakeih said the ministry would intensify inspections of private companies to punish violators.

“We are going to implement new mechanisms from next year (1433H) when citizens would be able to inform the ministry by phone or e-mail about the

violation of Saudization rules by private firms,” he said.

In a previous statement, the minister said his ministry would soon announce the number of unemployed Saudi men and women and the number of jobs that would be created through the Nitaqat system.

Fakeih will hold a press conference on Tuesday to announce the launch of the second phase of a program named Hafiz, which is aimed at providing necessary assistance to Saudi jobseekers.

http://arabnews.com/saudiarabia/article497615.ece

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