Saudi Arabia is planning to ban the recruitment of foreigners in hospitality jobs in the country, as per reports. In the latest development, the Labour Ministry has instructed employers to restrict hospitality jobs for Saudi nationals by the end of the year.
The decision will apply to resorts, hotels rated three stars or higher, and hotel apartments rated four stars or higher, reported Bloomberg.
Jobs to be reserved for Saudis include front desk jobs as well as management-level positions. The job of a restaurant host and health club supervisor will also be restricted for Saudi citizens. Foreigners can be employed as drivers, doormen and porters, said a ministry statement.
The country has pushed for "Saudization" policies after unemployment rates increased to 13 percent last year. Foreigners dominate its private sector jobs, having taken up all but few blue-collar and service jobs.
Earlier this year, the Saudi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Salman, announced investment worth $450 billion to reshape the Saudi economy and generate more than 1.5 million jobs in mining, industry, logistics and energy.
While the move is seen as a push for encouraging job creation in a country that heavily relies on cheap labour, businesses have complained that the new policies have increased the cost of labour and lowered productivity.
More than 41 lakh Indians reside in Saudi Arabia according to 2017 data, making them the largest expat group in the country.
In 2017, a large number of Indians sent back their families to the native country due to the imposition of a monthly dependent fee for expats. The move was initiated by Saudi officials in order to generate revenue from expats working in the country.
In Gulf countries, Indian workers are often employed on a contentious contractual basis. Over the years, increasing incidents of Indian workers being stranded due to the contractor's refusal to let the labours leave the country have been reported.
Since 2016, around 77,155 complaints on issues such as non-payment of salaries, denial of labour rights and other promised work benefits were registered by Indian workers in Gulf countries according to a Ministry of External Affairs data presented in Lok Sabha last week.
The data revealed 36 percent of the total complaints came from Saudi Arabia, followed by Kuwait (19 percent), Oman (15 percent), Qatar (14 percent) and the UAE (13 percent).