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New minimum wage for Saudi dentists from April

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Saudi Arabia’s Nitaqat—or Saudisation—programme aims to create more employment opportunities for Saudi nationals in dental and other healthcare settings. (Image: Elnur/Shutterstock)
Jeremy Booth, Dental Tribune International

By Jeremy Booth, Dental Tribune International

Mon. 17. January 2022

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RIYADH, Saudi Arabia: As part of an ongoing shake-up of its dental industry, the government of Saudi Arabia has established a minimum wage for dentists working in private practice. The move is part of sweeping changes to the kingdom’s labour laws, aimed at creating stable job opportunities for citizens of the western Asian monarchy.

From 11 April, the monthly minimum wage for dentists will be SAR 7,000 (€1,640). A minimum wage will also be established for certain other healthcare areas, including pharmacy, radiography and physiotherapy. The changes are part of a broader set of adjustments to Saudi labour laws and are known as the Nitaqat—or Saudisation—programme.

Announced in October last year, the programme aims to reserve 60% of jobs in private dental clinics for Saudi nationals in order to create more jobs for them and to expand their participation in the labour market. According to Saudi Gazette, the rejigging of healthcare employment regulations will create 8,500 jobs for Saudi nationals.

Only dentists who are paid at least the minimum monthly salary and who have obtained professional accreditation from the Saudi Commission for Health Specialties will fall under the Nitaqat programme.

Dental Tribune International understands that the minimum wage will not apply to dentists working in government-run dental settings, where jobs are typically highly sought after and well renumerated.

Arab News reported in October last year that Saudisation had already led to Saudi nationals holding 30% of dental jobs. The news agency said in May 2017 that the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development had stopped recruiting dentists from abroad to reduce unemployment among Saudi dental graduates.

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