The Ministry of Commerce and Industry has shut down 25 jewelers in Taiba Souk north of Riyadh for various violations.
Inspection teams from the department to fight coverup businesses at the ministry raided the shops on Tuesday and took action against the violators.
Abdullah Al-Anzi, director of the department, said the raid came after receiving several complaints from citizens with regard to coverup businesses, where foreigners run an enterprise under the cover of a Saudi sponsor who receives a nominal payment in return, and domination of foreign workers in this sector.
He said: “It was revealed during the raid that a large number of foreigners were working in these jewelers even though this sector is restricted exclusively to Saudi employees.
“The arrested workers were handed over to the security agencies concerned. The arrested foreign workers were not under the sponsorship of the business owners. Moreover, they have violated regulations with regard to their profession on their iqamas (residence permits).”
According to Al-Anzi, the owners of these jewelers have been asked to appear for questioning to find out whether they are involved in any coverup activity.
He added: “If it is found that they were involved in such businesses, both the owners and workers will face punitive measures. These include fines of up to SR 1 million, two years imprisonment, their commercial registration revoked for five years, collection of Zakat and fines from them, in addition to deportation of the workers.”