Saudi Arabia's ministry of labor and social development issued an order Thursday limiting jobs at shopping malls to Saudi nationals, Arab News reported.
The ministry's official spokesperson Khalid Abalkhail, announced the news in a series of tweets on his official Twitter page.
The announcement did not elaborate on the number of jobs affected nor the timeline for implementation, but Abalkhail explained that "coordination with the 'Saudization' committees" across the kingdom is underway to set implementation plans and dates.
The move comes in line with recent plans to boost employment among the kingdom's local population, especially in the private sector. It also aims to cut down unemployment "rates from 11.6 percent to 7 percent" under Saudi Arabia's Vision 2030.
"According to Vision 2030 released in 2016, there are only 300,000 Saudis out of 1.5 million workers employed in the retail sector," Arab News reported.
Since the ambitious blueprint was launched, the kingdom has been seeking to create more than "450,000 jobs in the non-governmental sector."
According to Arabian Business, Vision 2030 also calls for the development of non-oil industries, small and medium enterprises, and a broader investment base.
"The Minister of Labor and Social Development issued an order limiting work in closed shopping centers in Saudi Arabia to Saudi men and women."
The announcement was positively received by most Saudi nationals who took to Twitter to share their opinions via the hashtag: #توطين_المولات (Nationalizing Malls).
"An important decision. We've waited a long time for this. I hope it includes all other retail sectors."
"A great decision, it's going to help reduce unemployment rates... we hope that similar decisions will cover hospitals and universities in the future."
"Wonderful news, and I also hope that the ministry moves to 'nationalize' all other sectors because citizens' best interest should always be a priority."
"A great decision that supports Saudi citizens."
"An important step toward returning Saudi Arabia to Saudis."
"An excellent decision that will create numerous job opportunities for the young men and women of our country."
While most reactions were positive, some people had concerns
"If this decision is not based on clear plans and procedures, it will be ruined before it is even applied"
"When are they going to 'nationalize' other important sectors? They want us to work in malls while foreigners hold the highest posts in larger sectors..."
"What about other sectors? Health? Hydrocarbon? Power? And top administrative jobs?"