Saudi Arabia government’s move to nationalize sales and technical jobs in the cellphone shops of the country has hit the Indian community there.
The move has come as a major blow as the sector is considered to be dominated by Indians all across Saudi Arabia, with thousands of Indians working in these shops.
The Saudi government, as part of the process of creating job vacancies in the country, decided last February to fully nationalize jobs in the mobile phone sector. Apart from creating job vacancies for the citizens, the Saudi government also aims at putting an end to the “cover-up (binamy)” business in the sector.
The move has hit the Indian population living in Saudi hard. Many Indians have changed their business lines.
Quite a few shops were closed while a large number of Indians have either travelled back to India with a long period of re-entry visa or started sitting at their residences, waiting for a favourable atmosphere.
There were efforts from various corners of the world for an extension of the deadline for this ‘Saudization’.
However, the Ministry of Labour and Social Development has refused such requests and the order came into force on Saturday, following which strict official inspection and legal actions have been implemented.
Penalties including fine of 20,000 Saudi Riyals and close inspection campaigns and visits will continue, in coordination with the Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs, Ministry of Commerce and Investment, and security agencies.
According to the Saudi Labour Ministry, the cellphone sector offers good financial returns, and the government hopes to meet the move with success, given the same move in many other sectors has almost failed in the past.