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Report: 2.24m expats left Saudi labour market since 2017

May 26, 2021 at 11:34 am

A foreign worker, wearing a protective mask, fills a car tank at a petrol station Riyadh, on 9 March 2020 [STR/AFP/Getty Images]

As many as 2.24 million foreign workers have left the Saudi private sector since the kingdom initiated its plan to increase the number of its nationals working in the sector in 2017, official data has revealed.

Anadolu said data from the General Organisation for Social Insurance for the period from 2017 until the end of the first quarter of 2021 revealed that the number of foreign employees has decreased 26.4 per cent – from 8.49 million at the end of 2016 to 6.25 million expats at the end of the first quarter of this year.

Meanwhile, the number of Saudi employees increased ten per cent from 1.68 million to 1.84 million during the same period.

The number of private sector employees, both local and foreign, also decreased 20.4 per cent – from 10.17 million to 8.1 million.

Saudi aims to reduce the unemployment rate among its citizens to seven per cent by 2030. Unemployment among Saudi citizens fell to 12.6 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2020 from 14.9 per cent in the third quarter.

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