Low uptake among Saudis for 20,000 Haj transport jobs

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Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Labor is discussing the obstacles faced in hiring national workers for 20,000 jobs in the transport sector in 18 companies involved in transporting of pilgrims.

The General Syndicate of Cars in Mecca and the Makkah Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI) requested the Ministry of Labor for seasonal visas to fill these vacancies created after the exit of expat workers.

The General Syndicate said that it announced these vacancies four months ago, but only 4 percent Saudi job-seekers applied.

Ziyad Farsi, Deputy Chairman of the MCCI and a member of the General Syndicate of Cars, told Okaz/Saudi Gazette that the Minister of Labor called for a comprehensive study on the current status of the transport sector.

He said the study has been completed and will be submitted to the Ministry of Labor.

The strenuous work and the necessity to abide by timing is causing Saudis to ignore these jobs, he said, adding that this type of work requires 12 hours of duty every day.

Farsi blamed training institutes and colleges of technology for the failure to ‘Saudize’ – or recruit Saudi nationals – for these jobs. He said the graduates of these institutes and colleges do not conform with the requirements of the labor market.

He said it was difficult to lure Saudis to so many full-time and seasonal jobs despite incentives such as housing allowance, medical insurance and overtime payments.

Saudi youths also do not stay long in administrative jobs, Farsi said.

“For these reasons, we have requested the Ministry of Labor to create a zone (Nitaq) that is separate from the existing Nitaqat system. Our work is now throughout the year. The Umrah season goes on for seven months and Haj for two months. From statistics of the past years, the Saudization percentage in this sector has not reached 7 percent,” Farsi said.

The transport of pilgrims constitutes a major sector of the services that are provided to pilgrims. This sector is governed by the bylaws of the General Syndicate of Cars .

There is an opportunity for a larger number of investors to enter this field.

The General Syndicate of Cars supervises monitors and regulates the transportation of pilgrims.

The Ministry of Haj is seeking to generalize the concept of shuttle transport within the holy sites during the ascension to Arafat and the Nafrah (departure from Arafat) and within Mina during the days of Nahr (slaughtering of sacrificed cattle) and Tashreeq (eating of the slaughtered animals).

This article was first published in the Saudi Gazette.

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