Saudi Arabia issues labor reforms for expats working in private sector

 Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development announced Thursday a series of labor reforms; regarding the employment of expats, including the ability to change jobs.


The Labor Reform Initiative targets improving contractual relations between workers and employers, in a push that aims to establish an attractive job market in the Kingdom. 

The new initiative; which also applies to foreign workers, will allow job mobility and regulates the exit and re-entry visa issuance.
The ministry said the initiative – which will come into effect in March 14; 2021 – will improve and increase the efficiency of the work environment in Saudi Arabia. 

Saudi Arabia has also introduced similar initiatives; including: the Wage Protection System, the digital documentation of work contracts, the Labor Education and Awareness Initiative, and the launch of “Wedy” for the settlement of labor disputes. 


The new reforms also seek to increase the flexibility, effectiveness, and competitiveness of the labor market and raise its appeal with international practices, and attract top talent, the ministry said. 


Under the new initiative, employers will have to digitally document contracts of employees in an aim the ministry says will reduce the disparity between Saudi workers and the expatriates. 


‘Employee mobility’


The reforms will allow expatriate workers to transfer between employers after the work contract expires; without the need for the employer’s consent. The initiative also outlines conditions applicable during the validity of the contract, with a notice period and specific measures.


In detail the exit and re-entry visa reforms will allow expatriate workers to travel outside Saudi Arabia without the employer’s approval after submitting a request. While the Final Exit Visa reforms allow foreign workers to leave Saudi Arabia after the end of the employment contract; without the employer’s consent. The employer; however, will be notified electronically of their departure.


Those who break the employment contract must bear all consequences, financial or otherwise; relating to their employment agreement, the ministry outlined. 


As can be seen all services will be available to the public through the smartphone application (Absher) and (Qiwa) portal of the ministry. 
Saudi Arabia expects the new Saudi initiative to have several economic effects; including developing the local market and the flexibility of work; increase the productivity; within the private sector attracting highly skilled talent; and ultimately contributing to achieving the goals of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 through the National Transformation Program.