Riyadh: The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on Sunday announced the new Kafala system, which allows foreign workers to have greater job mobility and the freedom to enter and exit the country without the need for an employer’s permission, local media reported.
The country’s improved reforms on its ‘Kafala’ sponsorship system officially came into effect on Sunday.
Saudi Arabia’s ministry of human resources and social development announced last November it would amend the Kafala system in March 2021 under which workers who are tied to a single employer alone can renew or terminate their residency and work status in the country.
The new initiative will provide three main services: job mobility, development of exit and return mechanisms, and final exit, as the job mobility service allows a migrant worker to transfer to another job upon the termination of his work contract without the need for the employer’s approval.
The exit and return service allows a migrant worker to travel outside Saudi Arabia, upon submitting the application, with an electronic notification of the employer, while 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 consent, the ministry said.
As per the Gulf News, “Through this initiative we aim to build an attractive labor market and improve the working environment through three main services available to all foreign workers in the private sector,” deputy minister of Saudi human resources, Abdullah bin Nasser Abuthunain said.
What is Kafala System?
The Kafala system tied workers to their employers or sponsors, who are responsible for the employees’ visa and legal status.
The new law would limit the relationship between employers and expatriate workers under the systems, who primarily work in construction and domestic work.