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Cairo: As part of a regional programme limiting jobs to Saudi nationals, the kingdom’s Ministry of Human Resources has said a decree localising a number of professions in the holy city of Medina and Jizan in south-western Saudi Arabia has come into force.

The decree took effect as of Friday under the programme implemented by the ministry in partnership with the Interior Ministry and authorities in Medina and Jizan with the aim of providing “motivating” work opportunities for Saudis and increasing their engagement in the labour market, Okaz newspaper reported.

As part of the decree, 40 per cent of activities at Medina restaurants and 50 per cent of the jobs at the wholesale food and beverage sale outlets in the city are to be Saudised. Exempted from the decree are jobs of cleaning, loading and offloading. However, the number of the exempted workers should not make up more than 20 per cent of the overall employees.

In Jizan, 70 per cent of the workforce is to be Saudised at publicity and advertising agencies, photography services, and personal computer and laptop stores.

An exception is made for jobs of cleaning, loading and offloading.

The ministry said it will offer a package of incentives and support to private sector establishments to help them employ Saudis.

These incentives include support to the process of looking for qualified employees, training and employment continuity as well as having access to Saudi employment programmes.

Saudi Arabia, a country of around 32.2 million people, is home to a large community of migrant workers.

In recent years, the kingdom has launched a series of initiatives to employ its nationals and replace foreign workers in several fields including education, telecommunications and real estate as part of a labour policy known as “Saudisation”.