Saudi Arabia’s Labour Reform Initiative – Latest Update

Recently, the Saudi Arabian Ministry of Human Resources launched the Labour Reform Initiative for its international expatriates. The main goal of this reform was to make amendments to the current sponsorship system and help enhance the mobility of every national and international worker in Saudi Arabia. In this guide, we will talk about Saudi Arabia’s Labour Reform Initiative in detail.

Changes in the Labour Law as per the Labour Reform Initiative

Changes in the Labour Law as per the Labour Reform Initiative
  1. Administrative Duties Requirements 

The preceding labour law stated that any foreign worker who came to Saudi Arabia by their employer’s sponsorship can only switch their job, leave the country or do any other administrative and official duties only after permission from their sponsor. The new labour reform initiative aims to change this narrative completely.  

As opposed to this previous law, the new labour reform grants the foreign national complete authority to carry out administrative duties and switch or leave jobs based on the validity of their employment contracts, without requiring any permission of their employer.

The only requirement for switching or changing jobs is that they have been residing in Saudi Arabia for over a year and have alerted their employer about this decision ninety days prior.

To help new migrants find better jobs, the Saudi Ministry launched an electronic portal for employers to update about their companies and required workers and migrants to apply as per their respective fields conveniently. The foreign worker does not need the sponsor or employer’s permission to register and use the electronic portal.

  1. Entry and Exit Requirements

The previous labour law of Saudi Arabia clearly states that an international worker can only enter the country after having their exit and re-entry visa issued by the employer. However, the new labour reform initiative removes this requirement completely and allows any worker to exit and re-enter the country without their employer’s permit.

Along with this, the labour reform law has also removed the need for your employer’s signature on the exit visa as per the command of the immigration ministry in Saudi Arabia. You no longer need to get a sign off by your employer on the exit visa before leaving the country.

Instead, any employee can request to re-enter or leave the country through the online Saudi portal and the government decides whether to accept their request or not based on any pending present dues or debt. In case of approval of the request, the employer is notified about the worker’s leaving and rejoining status.

Benefits of The Saudi Arabia’s Labour Reform Initiative

After reading the aforementioned details, you can see vast and positive changes in the labour laws for foreign workers. Not only will these changed laws help get the workers more mobility and authority in the country, but will help ensure that they get fair rights and treatment by the employer.

Alongside this, the LRI will help reduce cases of human trafficking and exploitation by allowing them to return to their homeland without being dependent on their sponsor’s permission for it. Although, there is still a long way to go for every foreign worker in Saudi Arabia, the labour reform initiative is definitely a start.

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