Saudi Arabia reforms labour laws, grants more rights to expatriate workers; Details here

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November 11, 2020 6:45 PM

The existing exit procedures have been modified so that they do not conflict with the Saudi Labour Law, while also upholding international best practices for immigration.

This goes in line with Saudi Arabia’s image of upholding the rights of expatriate workers.

Labour laws in Saudi Arabia: Saudi Arabia’s labour laws have been reformed by the country’s Ministry of Human Resource and Social Development. With the changes, expatriate workers would get additional rights. The changes are in line with Vision 2030 and National Transformation Programme (NTP) of the Kingdom. The ministry announced the changes in a press conference held in Riyadh. The initiative, called ‘Labour Relation Initiative’ would be implemented in March next year, a statement released by the ministry said. With this, the expatriate workers would be given labour mobility.

Moreover, the existing exit procedures have been modified so that they do not conflict with the Saudi Labour Law, while also upholding international best practices for immigration.

The ministry stated that the hope is that the reforms would lead to increased competition in the labour market of the country since the employees would be able to change their employers. Apart from this, employers would also be able to hire the best talent for their businesses. This, the ministry states, would ultimately lead to an increase in public spending in the Kingdom as a result of increased wages due to competition.

The initiative reflects the commitment of the Kingdom towards the development of its local labour market, while also leading to its better regulation to make it beneficial for workers and employers, both, the ministry said.

This goes in line with Saudi Arabia’s image of upholding the rights of expatriate workers, as well as its efforts towards the labour market efficiency. The Kingdom is also of the view that the reforms would reduce the mobility or exit visa-related disputes between expatriate workers and employers, it added.

Among other things, the reforms would also enable expatriate workers to transfer sponsorship from an employer to another one, obtain a final exit visa and also request exit or re-entry visas, the statement said. All of these moves would now be approved automatically without the employer needing to give his consent. The public would be able to access these three services with the help of the web portal of the ministry or through a mobile application called “Absher”.

This is one of the several similar initiatives that have been launched in Saudi Arabia to make the local job market more efficient. The initiatives include the launch of “Widy” mechanism to facilitate out-of-court settlements in case of labour disputes, the wage protection system (WPS), or documentation of all the labour contracts electronically.

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