Saudi authorities on Thursday said that jobs at shopping centres would be limited to its citizens, a move set to hurt migrant workers in the oil-rich country.
A spokesman for the Ministry of Labour and Social Development, Khaled al-Khail, said in a brief statement that only Saudis would be employed at the malls spread across the kingdom.
He did not say how many foreigners are at present working in this sector.
Saudi Arabia, the world’s top oil exporter, has felt the pinch of a steep fall in oil prices since 2014.
In recent months, the government has stepped up efforts to create jobs for Saudis in an attempt to cut unemployment among them, officially estimated at 12.1 per cent.
According to official figures released in 2016, foreigners made up around one third of Saudi Arabia’s population of 31 million.
Saudi Arabia and other energy-rich Gulf states are struggling as their budgets have been hurt by low oil prices.
Several Gulf countries have recently enforced austerity measures, including cuts in decades-old state subsidies.