Riyadh: Many shops have closed their doors in Dammam and Al-Khobar as the decision to replace expatriates with Saudi nationals took effect.
The shops downed their shutters to avoid penalties as they have to take the necessary measures to bring themselves with the Saudisation scheme.
The Ministry of Labour and Social Development launched the plan which consists in Saudising 70 percent of jobs in car and motorbike showrooms, men and children ready-made garment stores, and shops selling furniture and kitchenware, reported Al Marsd.
Inspectors from labour office conducted inspection operations in the cities of Dammam, Al-Khobar, Qatif, Ahsa and Jubail to make random checks.
They found several small shops closed while big stores in supermarkets and on King Khalid Street in Al-Khobar and the ladies market in the city ensured that they followed the new Saudi-expat ratio of workers.
In the Mall of Dhahran and the iconic Rashid Mall, most of the opened shops stationed only Saudi staff at the counters. They admitted that they were finding it difficult to find replacement for expat staff.
At Al-Khobar’s Jawahra market and in expat-dominated Subaikha area most of the shops were closed. Some of them have displayed ‘For Rent’ signs, as they plan to liquidate their businesses.
Other shops simply asked their non-Saudi staff to stay outside to serve customers on the sly.
This practice is quite prevalent in gold shops where owners maintain that it will take some time for Saudi staff to learn the trick of the trade.
Al-Marsd said that hundreds of shops also remained closed in the Bab Sharifa in the city of Jeddah.
Social media users posted pictures and videos showing shops with shutter down, to evade labour inspectors’ visits to ensure compliance with the law.