Figures issued by Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Labour and Social Development (MLSD) show it has suspended the operations of 739,701 private sector organisations and a further 255,356 are at risk of suspension for not adhering to the kingdom’s strict new Saudisation requirements.

The new Nitaqat system means organisations must employ a certain percentage of Saudi employees or face penalties. Employers who have the highest percentage of local employees receive beneficial treatment in instances such as applying for foreign work visas.

Separately, the ministry says its inspectors have found 52,898 violations of labour laws in the nine months up to the end of July, according to Arab News.

The tightening of labour laws and enforcement of Saudisation are all part of the kingdom’s push to ease its dependence on foreign labour and get as many Saudi nationals into work as possible.

While there had been some reports that the fee for foreign work permits had been increased, the MSLD was quick to clarify that this was not the case.

However, last month the ministry did release figures showing it had rejected more than half a million foreign worker visa applications in 2016. Non-Saudis have also been banned from certain jobs, including roles in grocery and confectionery shops. And the government is hoping to create 5,000 jobs for Saudis by applying the same ban on foreign workers in the car rental sector, according to Gulf Business.

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