(MENAFN - Arab News) The Ministry of Labor has suspended the advantages it had granted to several companies that were implementing the Nitaqat system after it discovered they had given fake numbers of Saudi employees.
The ministry found out that 47,000 Saudis registered as private sector employees at the General Organization of Social Insurance (GOSI) are in fact not working in the private sector. The names are of persons employed in the government sector, including an undisclosed number of military personnel, according to an Al-Eqtisadiyah newspaper report that quoted unidentified sources on Tuesday.
The discovery was the result of a collaborated effort by the ministry, GOSI, and the National Information Center of the Ministry of Interior.
The ministry immediately halted the advantages of completing visa procedures electronically for these companies and approached relevant authorities to approve a new mechanism to link the data of relevant departments electronically to stop such circumvention.
Minister Adel Fakeih announced last September that the Nitaqat program, which was initiated at the beginning of this year, had contributed in employing 380,000 young men and women so far. The number is 20 times the total number in the previous five years. Nitaqat defines the number of Saudi employees at a company based on the company's size and the sector it operates in.
The categories in the program are excellent, green, yellow and red. Those companies in the first two categories are given advantages. Yellow category companies are given grace periods to fulfill the required quota, while companies in the red category are denied renewal of their foreign workers' visas.
The newspaper quoted the sources as saying that the registered employees are not aware of the matter. The information of most of them was used without their knowledge. Some of them were paid low monthly stipends by the companies in exchange of using their information, they said.
The ministry is working on tackling the absence of a network linking the data of the Ministry of Labor, GOSI, and the National Information Center, they said. Currently, information can only be obtained on specific persons through an official data verification request.