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Saudi Arabia will pay unemployment benefit from November

Saudi Arabia, which had a 10.8 percent unemployment rate in July, will begin to pay unemployment benefits for the first time from November, Labour Minister Adel Fakieh said on Sunday.

The government from next year also will seek to encourage the hiring of more Saudi nationals in the kingdom’s private sector, Fakieh said in comments published by newswire Bloomberg.

The government plans to sign agreements with Saudi banks in 2012 to monitor the wages of Saudis and foreign workers to ensure nationals are earning salaries that increase in line with the cost of living, Fakieh said. The Ministry of Labour in March initiated efforts to reduce unemployment and offset anger among citizens amid the “Arab Spring” demonstrations that have swept North Africa and the Middle East.

Separately, Saudi Arabia’s Labour Ministry intends to launch 30 new initiatives as part of its drive to create jobs for Saudi university graduates, it was reported on Sunday.

Fakeih said they would include efforts to develop the skills of Saudi workers, informing the private sector about qualified Saudi jobseekers and opening new opportunities for women.

Fakeih made his comments while opening a workshop attended by delegates from companies in Premium and Green categories of the newly introduced Nitaqat system, Saudi daily Arab News said.

Other initiatives planned by the ministry are employment for people with special needs, incentives for working in remote villages and regions and the development of the Human Resource Development Fund (HRDF), it added. Fakeih said he did not believe that Nitaqat was a total solution for the unemployment problem in the kingdom.

Last month, it was reported that more than 1.5m applications have been received from Saudi Arabian jobseekers over the past few weeks as the kingdom ramps up its new plan to find employment for nationals.

Fakeih said the list of Saudis waiting for jobs would be finalised in November.


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