Saudi Arabia, Ministry of Labor to redefine ‘Kafeel’ system

The Ministry of Labor has begun steps to redefine some of the terms linked to the ‘Kafeel’ (sponsorship) system such as the regulation governing the process of the transfer of the services, said Ahmed Al-Hemaidan, Undersecretary for Labor Affairs. He said the new regulation allow the expatriates a number of concessions including freedom of movement.

According to him, the ministry has abolished all the restrictions by employers such as holding his passport, banning him from traveling within the Kingdom on his own and the freedom of transfer of his sponsorship.

“What we are trying to do now is to ensure and guarantee the full rights of the laborer without infringing on the employer’s rights. This has been achieved by revoking some of the restrictions mentioned earlier.”

Al-Hemaidan’s statement coincided with the reports published by some dailies in March which indicated that the Ministry of Labor had finished reviewing the bylaws of the mega recruitment companies which are expected to replace the individual sponsors and is waiting for the approval of the new laws by the Council of Ministries before the end of 2012.

The study had recommended the setting up of a government commission to be affiliated to the Ministry of Labor and be tasked with overseeing the conditions of the foreign workers in the Kingdom and abolish the traditional roles of the sponsor in the Kingdom.

He said the newly recommended body which will succeed the traditional sponsor will be called the “Commission for Affairs of Foreign Workers” and will be headquartered in Riyadh with branches all over the Kingdom’s regions.

The study recommended abolishing the sponsor’s consent to the foreign employer to bring his family, perform Haj or visit his relatives in another region in the Kingdom during his time off.

Furthermore, the study emphasized the importance of adopting solutions that guarantee the employer’s and employee’s rights by introducing an obligatory insurance policy that guarantees the financial rights of the employer and employee alike.

(Source: The Saudi Gazette 15.05.2012)


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