Understanding the Labor Laws in Saudi Arabia

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According to Article 45 of the Labor and Workman Law of Saudi Arabia, Saudi workers shall not comprise less than 75% of the total number of the company workers and their wages shall not be less than 5% of the total wages of workers. The ministry of labor may reduce this ration in the absence of technical skills or educational qualifications.

Article 48 provides that work is the right of Saudi nationals; others may not exercise it except after the fulfillment of the conditions provided for in Article 49. Article 49 provides that a foreigner must been granted approval by the minister of labor and must have secured a work permit before being allowed to work in Saudi Arabia. Failure to do so will result in a fine.

Article 50 provides that “the employer shall vocationally train his Saudi workers to replace foreign workers” and the employer shall keep a register on which he shall record the names of the Saudi workers who have replaced non-Saudis.

The implementation the government has launched a campaign to reduce the number of expatriates in the Kingdom estimated at around seven million in order to counter unemployment among Saudi men. The campaign, known as the Seventh Five Year Development Plan 2000-2005 was implemented with the aim of developing human resources, ensuring an increasing supply of manpower, upgrading efficiency through regular training and replacing non-Saudi with Saudi manpower. It also calls for an increase in the share of Saudi manpower in total employment and for expanding the job opportunities available to women n accordance with teachings of Shariah.

This plan seeks to provide 817,000 jobs for Saudi by creating new opportunities or by replacing expatriates with citizens.

According to the Minister of Labor and Social Affairs in Saudi Arabia, the government opens to achieve “25 percent Saudization in the private sector” in 2002, which is in lines with a government policy, which calls for increasing manpower n the...
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