Saudi Arabia unveils new set of labor sponsorship laws
Saudi employers, whose foreign workers want to transfer their sponsorship, will be given an opportunity to lodge their objections within five days from their date of application, a senior official from the Ministry of Labor has announced.
Labor Ministry spokesman Tayseer Al-Mufarrej said that the new arrangement was aimed at protecting the interests of both sponsors and workers during their contractual period of employment.
“This was introduced, not only to accelerate the transfer, but also to remove any obstacles faced by foreign workers in the transfer process to a new sponsor at the Interior Ministry,” he said.
According to the new labor regulation, workers have the right to seek new employers if their sponsors fail to provide them with work and residency permits within three months of their arrival in the Kingdom or if sponsors are in the red or yellow zone of the Nitaqat nationalization scheme for having an insufficient Saudi-to-expat ratio.
Under the scheme, stranded workers can seek a job with employers whose job opportunities match their profession.
Workers will also be allowed to contact private recruitment companies in the Kingdom for temporary work, said Al-Mufarrej.
According to the Interior Ministry, it rejects applications for sponsorship transfer from runaway workers and employees who had committed traffic violations.
Sponsorship transfer is also not possible for workers whose passports have expired or if they have a valid re-entry or final exit stamped in their passports.
Stranded workers also have the right to register on the Labor Ministry website, wafid.com.sa, to find jobs in other private sector firms.
“Under the labor law, employees must be given their rights, privileges and wages, pending transfer to their new employers,” said Al-Mufarrej.