Expats Can Switch Jobs More Freely; One-year Bar For Transfer Removed

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An expatriate worker is now allowed to transfer his services to another employer without waiting for the expiration of at least one year period after his arrival in Saudi Arabia provided certain conditions are fulfilled.

An amendment to the labor law to this effect has been approved by the Minister of Human Resources and Social Development, Okaz/Saudi Gazette has learned.

The amended regulations state that the consent of the current employer should be obtained for the transfer, which should not be in violation of the conditions prescribed in the Nitaqat Saudization program for the private sector.

The new regulation is part of the three amendments approved by Minister Eng. Ahmed Al-Rajhi in the legal articles of the executive regulations of the Labor Law.

There was a provision in the labor law saying that an expatriate worker can transfer his services to another employer only after spending at least 12 months with the current employer from the date of his entry into the Kingdom. The minister also approved amendments to two other articles related to the transfer of service of expatriate workers.

According to the new amendments, an expatriate worker can transfer his services to another employer without stipulating the specific period in the event of the approval of the current employer and within the provisions of the Nitaqat stimulus program for establishments to Saudize jobs.

The second amendment was made in paragraph 7 of item 2 of Article 14 to the effect that “the expatriate worker has the right to transfer his services to another employer upon the expiry of the period of the documented work contract without the consent of the current employer.”

The third amendment added paragraph no. 21 to item 2 of Article 14, which reads as follows: “With regard to the provisions of Article 77 of the Labor Law, the expatriate worker may transfer his service to another employer without requiring the approval of the current employer when conditions are met…”

The stipulated conditions are: the worker shall have spent 12 months with the current employer from the date of his entry into the Kingdom; the worker has to notify the current employer about the transfer within a period of no less than 90 days before the end of the contractual relationship, unless the two parties agree otherwise.

“This decision cancels all previous decisions inconsistent with it,” it was stated in the amendment.

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