Saudi labour reforms take effect

16 March 2021

Reforms to Saudi Arabia's 'kafala' sponsorship system have taken effect from Sunday, offering expatriate workers in the kingdom greater flexibility in the workplace, Gulf Business reports.
The 'Labour Reform Initiative', first announced by the kingdom's Ministry of Human Resource and Social Development in November, allows expatriate workers labour mobility, as well as amends existing exit procedures.
Expatriate workers in the kingdom can now transfer their sponsorship from one employer to another upon the expiry of their work contract without the need for their former employer's approval.
The move is aimed at driving greater competition in the local market by permitting workers to change their employers.
Expat workers in the kingdom can also request exit/re-entry visas and secure a final exit visa online, without requiring prior consent from their employers.
The dramatic overhaul - part of the kingdom's efforts to build an attractive jobs market - also will allow expat workers to apply directly for government services, with their employment contracts documented digitally.
As many as 10 million migrant workers are expected to benefit from the changes under the kingdom's new initiative, intended to foster "a competitive and fair working environment", according to Arab News.
Expat workers have greeted the reform package enthusiastically, saying it offers them greater choice and support in employment.

Add Rate