Saudi halts foreign dentists, tackles unemployment

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On Tuesday, according to Saudi local media outlets, it has been reported that under new regulations only Saudi nationals will be allowed to work as dentists in the kingdom.

The decision that was announced by the Labor Ministry aims at encouraging private sectors to hire more local dentists in the medical area. This is majorly aimed at expanding and reinforcing the country’s labor force, local daily Arab News reported.

The move, set to be coordinated by the ministries of labor and health, is aimed at reducing unemployment among Saudi dentists and dental school graduates, the report said.

According to ministry figures, the kingdom currently has 26 dental colleges, including eight private institutions. Approximately 3,000 dental graduates enter the labor market annually.

The number of officially registered dentists in the Saudi stood at 10,150 as of 2015, including 5,946 Saudi nationals, Saudi Gazette reported.

Report gathered also shows that  2,525 expatriate dentists reportedly work at government dental clinics.

In May last year, a Saudi dentist posted a video clip online in which he was seen burning his university degree certificate after failing to find a job for two years. This victim of unemployment said that he obtained a degree in dentistry from Jordan University of Science and Technology but couldn’t find a job in any Health Ministry hospital.

Saudi has been nationalizing the workforce in several sectors in a bid to reduce the alarming unemployment rate being faced by citizens.

The kingdom announced a sudden rule to nationalise its mobile market last year.

In March 2016, mobile shop owners were told they had three months to make sure 50 per cent of their staff were Saudi and six months to completely localize their workforce.

With some of the steps made so far and with this recent move, Saudi citizens are therefore very hopeful that unemployment rate in the country will drastically reduce.