Saudi's revised Nitaqat to take effect in September 2017
The Saudisation programme's requirements have reportedly been amended, while training initiative, Saifi, has been mandated for the private sector
Saudi Arabia is amending its nationalisation system, Nitaqat, to increase the mandated number of Saudis that local organisations must employ.
New Nitaqat requirements are due to take effect on 3 September, 2017, according to a Mobility: Immigration Alert report posted by professional advisory, EY.
A company's activity and its size; the percentage of Saudi nationals it employs; Saudi nationals' average salaries and retention rates within the organisation; and the percentage of Saudi nationals with high salaries will be factors based on which companies will be rated and incentivised under the new Nitaqat framework.
Only those companies that fall within Nitaqat's Platinum and High Green categories will "be able to apply for new block visas", EY's report stated.
Meanwhile, companies in other categories "will only be able to obtain visas for expatriate employees through a transfer of sponsorship".
EY's update added: "This means that companies that fall in categories, Medium Green, Low Green, Yellow, and Red may be limited to hiring expatriates who are already in the [kingdom] and have work authorisation with an existing employer."
In addition, all private companies with more than 25 employees must offer an internship to Saudi students as part of the now-mandatory Saifi training initiative, the kingdom's Human Resources Development Fund (HRDF) and Ministry of Labour and Social Development (MLSD) announced.
The training programme must span four weeks, and trainees must be paid a minimum stipend of $400 (SAR1500).
Training sessions may also be outsourced to authorised centres, EY added.