Abu Dhabi: The Ministry of Labour and Social Development will strictly enforce laws to Saudise jobs in the gold and jewellery industry from January 1, 2022, after several failed attempts over the last 16 years, local media reported.
Workers in the industry must now apply for a professional licences before the decision enters into force.
The ministry said about 30,000 people work in 6,000 gold shops across the Kingdom.
The ministry hopes that Saudisation of the industry would help combat tasattur or cover-up operations, where expatriates run businesses in the name of Saudis, by 40 per cent.
The gold and jewellery market has an investment worth SR14 billion. The Saudi gold market is one of the biggest in the world and the biggest in the Arab world.
The industry is expected to provide 5,000 jobs for Saudis when the localisation programme is fully implemented.
Gold and jewellery shops had been unresponsive to the ministry’s decision and were run by foreigners as Saudis did not find it a lucrative industry to work in.
They also found the work highly demanding with very little income. The salary a Saudi is likely to earn by working in the industry is between SR5,000 and SR7,000 a month.
The ministry had said gold and jewellery shops that employ foreigners will be slapped with a fine of SR20,000 for each expatriate worker.