8-year expat cap plan under review
The Labor Ministry announced Sunday that it has finalized seven new regulations, including a law that allows expats to transfer their sponsorship onto new employers without the permission of their current sponsors.
Ahmed Al-Humaidan, deputy minister for labor policies, said a working team has been appointed to conduct more studies on the draft law that restricts the stay of expats in the Kingdom in order to propose alternatives and other solutions by the first quarter of the coming Hijri year.
Many companies and employers had objected to the move restricting expats’ period of stay in the Kingdom to a maximum of eight years and discouraging them from bringing their families, saying it would negatively affect their businesses.
The new transfer of service law, which has been published on the ministry’s website (http://www.ma3an.gov.sa), insisted that it is allowed on the basis of certain conditions and should be endorsed by the labor minister.
The law said such transfers are allowed if the worker had a labor dispute with the sponsor and the latter failed to attend the two labor court sessions without any legitimate reason. In addition, judicial authorities should have proof that the sponsor deliberately tried to delay the case and that the worker should not have caused the delay.
An expat can also transfer his sponsor if the previous sponsor did not pay his salary or delayed its payment for three months continuously, provided the worker did not cause the delay.
“The condition stands if the employer was absent and could not carry out his duties because of travel, imprisonment or death, while failing to appoint an agent to take care of his firms and workers,” the law said, explaining other conditions.
Ahmed Al-Humaidan, deputy minister for labor policies, said the ministry has completed discussions on 24 labor regulations with the participation of officials, lawyers and consultants.
“We have presented the draft laws on our website to initiate discussions and allow businessmen, ordinary citizens and expat to give their opinions,” he said, adding that a number of workshops have been conducted for this purpose.