Saudi Arabia cancels Kafala system from March 14

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The Ministry of Labor of Saudi Arabia has officially announced to end the Kafala system (sponsorship system) from March 14, 2021.

After the cancellation of the Kafala system, the following requirements will be canceled.

  • No need for the Kafeel permission for the transfer of sponsorship.
  • No need for the Exit Re-entry visa.
  • No need for the final exit visa.
  • No Huroob by the Kafeel.

How to change jobs after the Kafala system ends?

The job mobility service allows the expatriate worker to transfer to another job upon the end of his work contract without the need for the employer’s approval.

The initiative also defines the mechanisms of transfer during the validity of the contract, provided that the notice period and certain other requirements are fulfilled.

Leaving Saudi Arabia after the Kafala system ends

The exit and return service allows the expatriate worker to travel outside the Kingdom upon submitting the application with notice of the owner. There is no need to take permission.

The final exit service enables the expatriate worker to leave immediately after the end of the contract, with an electronic notification of the employer without requiring his approval.

Is it applicable to domestic workers?

The above-mentioned changes would apply to all expatriate employees working in the private sector in Saudi Arabia (around 10.5 million).

Saudi Arabia’s 3.7 million domestic workers such as housemaids and house drivers. However, separate regulations that govern domestic workers are also under review, Alharbi said.

Ministry of Labor Official Announcement

This initiative will increase the flexibility, effectiveness, and competitiveness of the labor market and raise its attractiveness to foreign workers.

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What would the impact on Expats?

This initiative will have a significant impact on the lives of 10.5 million expatriates living in Saudi Arabia in a positive way.

“These changes are not small changes — it’s huge,” Alharbi said, explaining that the government had worked on the overhaul for two years.

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