Non-Saudi Expats Banned From Working in These 12 Areas |

Non-Saudi Expats Banned From Working in These 12 Areas

12 areas of work in Saudi Arabia will be exclusively available to Saudi nationals as of the next Hijri year.

Posted on

30 April 2018

Last updated on 1 May 2018
Non-Saudi Expats Banned From Working in These 12 Areas

Saudi Arabia has been working hard to create new job opportunities for their citizens and ensure that every Saudi national has a job that they can go to as part of Vision 2030. Unfortunately, a number of expatriates had to give up their jobs in order to make way for Saudization.

The Ministry of Labour and Social Development in Saudi Arabia has announced that as of the next Hijri New Year (1440) expatriates will no longer be allowed to work in 12 retail jobs. These 12 areas will become available to Saudi nationals and some will even be exclusive to Saudi women only.

The 12 areas that will soon be exclusively available to Saudi Nationals are:

  • watch shops
  • optical stores
  • Medical Equipment Stores
  • Electrical And Electronics Shops
  • Outlets Selling Car Spare Part
  • Building Material Shops
  • Outlets Selling All Types Of Carpets
  • Automobile And Mobile Shops
  • Shops Selling Home Furniture And Ready-Made Office Material
  • Sale Outlets Of Ready-Made Garments, Children Clothes And Men's Supplies
  • Household Utensils Shops
  • Pastry Shops

Kiosks selling women accessories as well as independent small shops selling wedding dresses, abayas, garments, child-care and other accessories have all been marked to be fully feminised.

Penalties for being caught working in the nationalized sector has not yet been confirmed but according to speculations, it will most likely entail a hefty fine and deportation.

Is there a future for expats in Saudi Arabia?

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman had an interview with The Time Magazine during his last visit to America. When asked about the future of expats in Saudi Arabia, the Crown Prince answered: “So we are working hard in this area and we are trying to do our best. We have more than 10 million foreigners in Saudi Arabia, most of them working and others families of those employees. And we believe it will not decrease, it will increase because we believe Saudi Arabia for its ambition it needs a lot of human resources and human power, so a lot of jobs will be created for Saudis and for foreign people to deliver what we are trying to build in Saudi Arabia.”

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman being photographed by the TIME Magazine

Image Credit: TIME Magazine

It thus seems that there is hope, despite so many foreigners being made redundant because of Saudization. With Vision 2030 projects such as NEOM City, Qiddiya and the Red Sea Islands Project, cinemas returning to Saudi Arabia and women being allowed to drive numerous job opportunities will be opening up in the near future – but how many expats will leave with a tainted image of the country before then?