Majority of companies in Nitaqat’s safe zone in Saudi Arabia

The Ministry of Labor approved new updates which include directives for new businesses and amends its percentages in some trades

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Almost 86 percent of companies and establishments are now in safe zone as far as the Nitaqat Saudization program is concerned, Ahmad Al-Humaidan, deputy minister of labor, said on Tuesday.

He said they have been classified in low, medium and high zones of green and platinum.


“There are only 14 percent of firms in unsafe zones of yellow and red. This is a positive development to achieve such a big result within a short span of time as the percentage of firms in safe and unsafe zones was 50 percent each at the time of enforcing Nitaqat program,” he said.

Al-Humaidan said that the ministry has approved new updates in the third edition of the program, which will include directives for new businesses besides amendments in the required percentage of Saudization in some trades.

He said that a specialized committee is carrying out studies about the overall outcome of the implementation of Nitaqat in 45 businesses on a permanent basis.

“It has been revealed in studies that some businesses achieved more than the required percentage of Saudization while some others are yet to achieve the percentage.”

Al-Humaidan said the ministry is committed to give enough time to the private sector before implementing any new decisions.

The ministry will give a six-month grace period before implementing the new regulations and the deadline will be April 20 (Rajab 1).

Meanwhile, the ministry announced that the implementation of the fourth phase of the Wage Protection Program will start from the beginning of next week.

Abdullah Abu Thunain, deputy minister for inspection and development, said that this phase covers firms with more than 500 workers, and under this group there are 917 companies with a total number of 633,000 workers.

The ministry started implementing the program in a phased manner from Dec. 24, 2012. Companies with more than 3,000, 2,000, and 1,000 or more workers were covered in the first three phases respectively.

More than 1.9 million workers, including 400,000 Saudis, employed at a total of 731 firms have benefited from the program in the first three phases, he said.

“Around 70 percent of firms have fulfilled the ministry’s regulations with regard to the program and all the services like issuing and renewing work permit have been blocked for the firms which failed to implement it. Around 55 percent of some 1,301 private schools have implemented the program,” he added.

This article was first published in the Saudi Gazette.

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