Saudi Arabia’s government has passed a decree banning foreign workers from selling and maintaining mobile phones and accessories for them.

It is also requiring that retail stores are at least 50% staffed by Saudi nationals within three months, and be entirely staffed by locals within six months.

The Ministry of Commerce and Industry said that the deadline to Saudise the telecom sector will come into effect on 2nd July.
Violators face up to two year in prison and will be deported.

The moves after reports that more than half of phone retailers in the country are owned by a Saudi national in name only, and are fronts for foreign investors.

It could also see around 20,000 Saudi’s offered jobs in the retail sector, and may be seen as the beginnings of a more aggressive move to create non-oil jobs for Saudi nationals.