No hiring of workers with criminal record; no deduction of recruitment fee from salary

Salient features of Saudi –Pakistani labor pact revealed

August 01, 2022

Okaz/Saudi Gazette

JEDDAH The new labor agreement that was agreed upon by Riyadh and Islamabad to hire workers from Pakistan stipulates that no Pakistanis with a criminal record shall be hired to Saudi Arabia. It is not allowed to deduct recruitment charges from the worker’s salary and that the worker shall arrive in the Kingdom within one month after the receipt of the work visa. These provisions are included in the agreement between the two countries of which the details are published in the Saudi official gazette Umm Al-Qura newspaper.

The agreement was signed between the Saudi Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development and the Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development (MOPHRD). The agreement aims to recruit labors from Pakistan to work regularly in Saudi Arabia in a way protecting the rights of both parties -employers and workers - and regulating the contractual relationship between them.

The agreement stipulates that the human resources ministries of both the countries have to work on implementing a mutually acceptable system for hiring, sending and returning Pakistani workers who are hired to work in Saudi Arabia in accordance with the labor laws, rules and regulations. It should be ensured that the recruitment of labor would be through reputable recruitment or employment offices, companies or agencies licensed by the governments of both the countries.

The recruitment costs shall be governed by strict regulations of both the countries. It should be ensured that recruitment offices, companies or agencies in both countries, in addition to the employer, do not impose any fees or deductions from the worker’s salary in return for recruitment costs. There is also another provision under which the parties involved in the contract are entitled to resort to the competent authorities in the event of any contractual dispute in accordance with the applicable laws, rules and regulations. Legal measures can also be taken against employment offices, companies or recruitment agencies in case of any violation of laws, rules and regulations. It is also stipulated to work to resolve any problem arising from the application and implementation of any provisions of this agreement.

As per the agreement, the Pakistani ministry is bound to carry out the following seven major responsibilities: ensuring that the hired worker meets health requirements and is free from infectious diseases and this shall be proved through conducting comprehensive medical examinations via reliable medical centers in Pakistan; ensuring that the proposed worker does not have criminal records; the worker shall be trained in specialized institutes or centers; they shall be educated and given proper awareness about Saudi Arabia’s customs and traditions as well as the terms and conditions of the employment contract; directing the worker to abide by the regulations, etiquette, customs and rules of conduct that are in force during their stay in Saudi Arabia; motivating the worker to complete the terms of their labor contracts; taking the necessary action to facilitate sending the worker to the Kingdom within a period not exceeding one month from the date of receiving the visa and facilitating the return of the worker in the event of the violation of the contractual terms.

Under the agreement, there are six major responsibilities for the Saudi Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development and these include: the recruitment and employment of workers shall be in line with the provisions of the agreement as well as in accordance with the applicable laws, rules and regulations; guarantee protection of rights of workers in the Kingdom in accordance with the applicable laws rules and regulations; facilitating the opening of a bank account by the employer in the name of the worker to deposit the monthly salary of the worker stipulated in the employment contract; striving to have a mechanism to provide around the clock assistance to workers; seeking to facilitate the rapid settlement of labor contract violations and other labor cases that came up in front of the competent Saudi authorities and courts; and facilitate the issuance of final exit visas to return the workers to their homeland upon completion of the period of the contract or in emergency cases or if the need arises.

There is also another provision in the agreement to set up a joint technical committee headed by high-level representatives of the two countries to conduct the periodic review to evaluate and monitor the implementation of the provisions of the agreement as well as to hold rotating consultative meetings in Saudi Arabia and Pakistan at a date and place agreed upon by the two parties. This joint technical committee can form sub-committees to meet regularly to discuss issues arising from this agreement. The committee can make the necessary recommendations in the agreement to resolve differences arising from the implementation and interpretation of the provisions of this agreement or making amendments in this agreement whenever necessary. The agreement also stipulates to complete the settlement of any dispute over the interpretation or implementation of this agreement amicably in consultation between the two parties through diplomatic channels.

In the event of the willingness to make any amendment or revision to any of the provisions of this agreement, this shall be done with the consent of the two parties in accordance with the legal procedures that are in force in both the countries and this shall come into force from the date agreed upon between the parties while each party must notify the other party - in writing - through diplomatic channels to complete the procedures for which local clearance needed. This agreement shall become effective as of the date of the last notification.

The agreement shall be valid for a period of five years, automatically renewable for a similar period or periods, unless one of the parties informs the other party - in writing - through diplomatic channels of its desire to terminate it, and this shall be two months before the date of expiry of the term of this agreement.

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