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Saudi Arabia: Expatriate job mobility condition outlined; no additional fee

Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development outlined on Thursday the conditions for the eligibility of expat workers to benefit from the job mobility service as per the labor reforms announced by the ministry on Wednesday.

The worker must be an expatriate professional and must have completed one year with the current employer after his first arrival in the Kingdom, along with a documented work contract. The ministry also stated that the transfer service does not incur any additional fees other than what is in force at present and that it will not affect the status of issued visas.

According to the ministry, the job offer must be submitted by the new employer through the ministry’s Qiwa online platform, and a notification to be sent to the current employer for the transfer of service request, stating a notice period.

The new employer’s firm must be eligible to obtain visas according to the rules and regulations in compliance with the wage protection program, as well as the regulations of the contract documentation, digitization program, and self-evaluation.

As per the ministry there are certain cases under which a foreign worker is allowed to move to another employer without any conditions.

  • Firstly, the absence of a documented work contract with the current employer after taking into account the deadline for documenting the contract, which is 3 months after the worker’s entry into the Kingdom.
  • Secondly the failure of the employer to pay the worker’s wages for three consecutive months.
  • Another reason is the absence of the employer because of travel, imprisonment, death or any other reasons.
  • Also in the event of the expiry of an expatriate worker’s job permit or residency permit (iqama).
  • The situations also included the worker’s lodging of complaint about the involvement of the employer in the commercial cover-up (tasattur) provided that the worker is not involved in tasattur.
  • Similar is the case if the worker has proof that the employer is involved in trafficking in persons.
  • Another situation for the worker to be able to transfer his service without any condition is the labor dispute between the worker and his current employer, and the employer or his representative failed to attend two sessions of litigation despite being notified of the hearing dates or not attending two sessions for amicable settlement of disputes.
  • The transfer is also possible if the current employer gives approval to the worker’s transfer.