The owners of many commercial buildings in Madinah have filed lawsuits against Saudi citizens who have refused to pay shop rents after expatriates running the stores left the country, local media reported.
The expats were running the stores under “tasattur” arrangements – under which Saudis rented the stores from the landlords in return for roughly 10% of the profits. The practice is illegal in the kingdom and officials have intensified inspections across the country.
Sources told the Arabic daily Makkah that 50 lawsuits were filed in courts against Saudi nationals who have not paid store rents. The lawsuits also sought payments for stocks that the expatriates took away without paying the suppliers.
The expatriates operating the shops reportedly abandoned the businesses after the ministry of Commerce and Investment warned that those caught violating the rules will face strict penalties including two years in prison, a fine of not less than SAR1m and deportation, Saudi Gazette reported.
Saudi Arabia has been cracking down heavily on illegal workers and residents and has been detaining people for residential, labour and border security regulations since November 2017. Among the 2,376,215 people arrested, over 1.8 million violated residency regulations, 364,636 flouted labour laws and 165,327 were caught for border violations.
More recently, the country has imposed job restrictions in 12 retail roles as part of which those facilities will have to ensure that at least 70% of their staff are Saudi nationals.
Source Credit: Saudi Gazette