Time: August 21, 2019
- Firms must be part of nationalization program
- Saudi Arabia wants to cut unemployment rates
TAIF: Private sector firms in Saudi Arabia will be able to get instant visas for foreign workers, slashing the months-long application process, but they must commit to workforce nationalization rates. The service, from the Ministry of Labor and Social Development, allows firms enrolled in the Kingdom’s flagship nationalization program to get visas immediately without needing to submit documents.
But only green-coded firms in the Nitaqat nationalization program are eligible.
Companies fall into different categories based on what kind of work a company does, workforce size, and how many Saudis are employed by the firm. There are four categories: Platinum, green (which has three-sub categories), yellow and red.
Nitaqat seeks to increase the number of Saudis in the labor market, especially the private sector, as well as reduce unemployment and promote job stability.
The ministry’s website said that the instant visa service had cut the eight-month period that was previously needed to get one.
There are numerous conditions before companies can take advantage of the snappier process. A company needs to be green-coded for 13 consecutive weeks, or 26 intermittent weeks within a 52-week period. It must also have a valid work license, and maintain the mandatory wage protection system.
Earlier this year, the ministry launched Qiwa, an online platform combining all the country’s employment services under one (electronic) roof. The ministry also wants to improve workplace efficiency and productivity, and attract international investment.
Minister of Labor and Social Development Ahmad Al-Rajhi said at the Qiwa launch: “The ministry has entered into partnerships and agreements to settle more than 561,000 job opportunities in the private sector until 2023.”
Qiwa also aims to provide Saudi government officials with statistical information to tackle business challenges facing employers and employees, and achieve the Vision 2030 reform plan’s goal of reducing the country’s unemployment rate to 7 percent.