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KSA Announces to Allow Expats to Change Employer, Exit Re-Entry Without Employer Consent

Saudi Arabia is set to abolish the sponsorship (Kafala) system effective from the first half of the next year. The landmark move would be the latest in a series of economic reforms being carried out in line with the Saudi Vision 2030.

Saudi Arabia was supposed to introduce this abolition during the first quarter of 2020, but it was delayed due to the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic. However, According to the Ministry of Human Resource and Development, more than one million expatriates are expected to benefit from the move. To know more, read the article below.

The Recent Announcement by the Ministry

The Ministry of Human Resource and Social Development in Saudi Arabia announced these new reforms during a press conference held in Riyadh.

According to the Ministry,

The new reforms that will come into effect in March 2021, will allow Saudi expat workers to change employer, request exit re-entry and final exit visa without requiring the employer’s consent. This is in line with the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 and the National Transformation Programme.



What is the Expected Date of Implementation of Reforms

According to the Ministry, it is expected to take place in March 2021.The reforms will reportedly allow expatriates in the kingdom to transfer their sponsorship from one employer to another, request exit/re-entry visas, and secure a final exit visa without requiring the employer’s consent. Read more: Clarification on Cancellation of Sponsorship System by the Ministry

What Services will be Available for the Saudi Expats?

Moreover, the Ministry of Human Resource and Social Development said all these new initiatives will now be approved automatically without requiring the employer’s consent. The three services will be made available to the public through the smartphone application ‘Absher’ and the Ministry’s electronic web portal.

What would be the Benefits of these Reforms?

The reforms will drive greater competition in Saudi Arabia’s labour market as it will permit employees to change their employers and also allow employers to attract the best talent, ultimately increasing competition, wages, and public spending inside the Kingdom.

What are the aims of this Initiative?
The initiative contributes to improving expatriates’ working conditions by raising their satisfaction, protecting their rights, increasing their productivity in the labor market, as well as the Kingdom’s competitiveness in attracting global talent.

Elimination of Hurdles Affecting the Attractiveness of the Labor Market

It seeks to eliminate and solve some challenges, including the failure on the part of limited groups of business owners to abide by the rights of expatriate workers, which negatively affects the attractiveness of the labor market.

The initiative would lead to a reduction in the disputes between local employers and expatriate workers relating to employee mobility or exit visa requests.

The Saudi government has taken this great step of the abolishment of the sponsorship system as this will provide better opportunities for the locals and the foreigners residing in the Kingdom. For more information, visit our website. Stay safe. Stay tuned.

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