Landmark labor reform initiative to come into force on Sunday

March 09, 2021

Saudi Gazette report

RIYADH — Saudi Arabia's Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development announced on Tuesday that the landmark labor reform initiative will come into force on Sunday (March 14).

The initiative, which aims to improve the contractual relationship between employers and employees in the private sector, is expected to bring about far-reaching positive effects in the Saudi employment market.

The ministry launched the labor reforms initiative on Nov. 4, 2020, revamping the 70-year old sponsorship system. The initiative allows enhanced job mobility and regulates the issuance of exit and re-entry visas and final exit visas without the consent of the employer.

These services will be available through the Absher and Qiwa online platforms and cover all expatriate workers in private sector establishments. It applies to all expatriate workers in the private sector except those in the five categories of a private driver, home guard, domestic worker, shepherd, and gardener or farmer.

The ministry sources said earlier that the labor reforms initiative is in continuation of the ministry’s ongoing efforts to improve the labor market to keep pace with the robust economic development being witnessed by the Kingdom.

The initiative aims to raise the competitiveness of the labor market and is expected to produce a positive economic impact in terms of the flexibility and development of the labor market, and contribute to achieving the goals of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 in developing human competencies and work environment.

The new initiative allows the employment mobility for an expatriate worker through the transfer of service to another job upon the expiry of his work contract without the need for the employer’s consent.

The exit and reentry service allows an expatriate worker to travel outside the Kingdom with submitting the application along with informing the employer about it electronically, while the final exit visa service enables the expatriate worker to leave the Kingdom during the valid period of the work contract or immediately after its termination in addition to the possibility of leaving the Kingdom with the worker bearing all the consequences of the termination of the contract.

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