Saudi Arabia launches Labor Reforms for Private Sector Expat Workers with Job Transfer, Exit Re-Entry & Final Exit

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The Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development in Saudi Arabia unveiled an initiative to improve the contractual relationship between workers and employers, which is one of the National Transformation Program initiatives that was developed in partnership with the Ministry of Interior and the National Information Center and with the support of several other government agencies.

The initiative seeks to achieve 4 goals, which are
1. Protecting the rights of the parties to the contractual relationship.
2. increasing the flexibility and effectiveness of the labor market’s competitiveness. 
3. Raising the attractiveness of the labor market and aligning it with international best practices and the Saudi labor system.
4. Strengthening the role of the documented work contract as a contractual reference in the labor relationship. Trending: Saudi Arabia Cancels Kafala System From March 14


The initiative, which will go into effect on March 14, 2021, includes all expatriate workers in the private sector.
– This initiative allows job transfer service to an expat worker from current to another employer upon the end of his work contract without the need for the employer’s approval, and determines the transfer mechanisms during the validity of the contract, provided that the notice period and the specified controls are to be followed.
– The ministry also clarified that the worker is entitled to a job transfer before the completion of the contract period after the 1st year of his first entry into the Kingdom, while following to the penalty clause stipulated in the contract, provided that he does not violate the work system and adheres to the notice period set at 90 days. The penalty clause applies to him in this case.

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– The ministry also revealed that in case of the 2nd contract and following contracts, the worker has the right to move during the 1st year of the contract with the application of the conditions for the eligibility of the worker and the new employer, and in this case he is subject to the penalty clause as stipulated in the contract as well as the notice period specified at 90 days.
– As for the procedures for implementing the job transfer service request, it is through the new establishment submitting the service request through the Ministry’s “Qiwa” platform, and a message is sent to the expatriate worker, acknowledging the desire to move, submitting the request through the platform, and then sending a notification of approval to all parties.
– The ministry clarified on exit and re-entry visa service, an expat worker can raise exit and re-entry visa request during the validity of the work contract automatically through “Absher” system, while the Final Exit service allows the expatriate worker to request a final exit during the validity of the work contract or after the end of the contract automatically.
– The Ministry explained that the penal clause applies according to what is stipulated in the documented contract between the worker and the employer and is to be bear by the party who terminates the contract.

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