What is the change? Saudi Arabia has announced that at the beginning of next year it will set aside 20 percent of private sector engineering positions for Saudi nationals.

What does the change mean? The new policy will apply to all private sector employers with five or more employees in engineering professions.

  • Implementation time frame: Eighteen weeks from now for employer compliance with the requirements and January, 2021 to reach the 20 percent quota.
  • Visas/permits affected: Work permits.
  • Who is affected: Private sector employers with five or more employees in engineering professions.
  • Business impact: Affected private sector employers in Saudi Arabia have 18 weeks from now to become compliant. The Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development will provide support to these employers to hire Saudi engineers. Support will be available in the form of the recruitment process, employee searches, training, job qualification and employment procedures.

Background: Saudi Arabia eliminated the Nitaqat (Saudization) yellow category in January, an action which moved companies in this category into the red category where they are not allowed to renew work permits or apply for residence permits. Stricter requirements for the hiring of foreign engineers were imposed in 2017.

Employers must be sure that foreign nationals working as engineers in the private sector must have a job title that matches the job title on their work permit. The Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development will also cease to provide government services to employers found to be in violation of the policy. The salaries of the new Saudi engineering jobs must be at least SR7,000 per month. The 20 percent Saudization of private sector engineering jobs covers 117 engineering fields.

Analysis & Comments: Employers should take note of the new policy requirements and follow them in order to be in compliance. Employers are encouraged to work with Deloitte to ensure they remain in compliance with the new requirements.

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