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KSA: Ministry of Interior and Ministry of Labor announce exceptions and facilitations for grace period

Unofficial English Translation

Original in Arabic on Saudi Press Agency – www.spa.gov.sa

Riyadh, 30 Jumadi Al-Thani 1434 corresponding to 10 May 2013.SPA

The Ministry of the Interior and the Ministry of Labor called on all establishments, individual, and expatriates to immediately rectify their violations of the rules and regulation of residency and labor laws and to take advantage of the exemptions and facilitations approved by the Royal Decree before the expiration of the grace period up to 24-08-1434 corresponding to 3-July -2013. Meanwhile, the concerned authorities confirmed that they would begin the inspection campaigns and will immediately implement the rules and regulations to the violator employers and expatriate workers after the deadline.

Exemptions and Facilitations cover the following:

1- All expatriate violators of the kingdom’s regulations on residency and labor law, who may wish to rectify their working conditions and stay for work in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia will be exempted from penalties and fines related to their violations that have been accrued before 25/05/1434 corresponding to 6/4/2013, excluding charges.

2- In case of final exit during the grace period for rectification of working condition, the worker will be exempted from residency permit charges and working permit penalties and fines in relation to their violations for the previous periods, and shall undergo fingerprinting for those who didn’t have their fingerprints taken to update their information; and this procedure will not prevent the expatriate from returning again to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, if he is able to secure a new entry visa (this procedure will be processed through the Passports Office).

3- The grace period excludes infiltrators, who entered Saudi Arabia illegally.

4- Expatriates who absconded from their employer (who had been reported missing from work – huroob) or those expatriates whose residency and working permit have expired, may rectify their status either by returning to their current employer, or transferring their services to another employer, without the need for consent of the current employer, and any disputes relating to private rights claims will be settled between them and the present employers through judicial authorities, taking into account the following:

• The transfer of service of the worker to the private sector companies who have a total number of their workers (10 workers or more) will not lead lowering of the company’s status below the Green zone of the Nitaqat.

• Not more than four workers may be transferred as a maximum to a very small green entity (with a total number of 9 workers or less, and hired at least one (1) Saudi, either the employer himself or another Saudi to be paid not less than SAR,3000) on the condition that the total number of workers does not exceed 9 after the transfer process.(This procedure will be processed through the Labor Office)

5- The run-away household service workers (who were reported to the concerned authorities as absconding) or whose iqama validity expired may rectify their status either by returning to the current employer if there is an agreement between them, or their services will be transferred to another employer as a household service worker (this procedure will be done through the Passport Department or Jawazat) or to be transferred to the private sector establishment/ company without the need for the current employer’s consent (this procedure will be processed through Labor Offices), and to complete the transfer of the service the following conditions apply:

• The total number of household help for one family shall not exceed 4 household workers after the transfer process.

• The transfer of service of the household service worker to the private sector establishment/company which have a total number of 10 workers or more workers will not cause the establishment to change status from the Green zone in the Nitaqat program.

• More than 4 workers will not be transferred as a maximum to a very small green entity which has a total number of 9 workers or less, and hired at least one (1) Saudi, either the employer himself or another Saudi to be paid not less than SR 3000, provided that they do not exceed the total number of workers in one establishment/company (9 workers) after the transfer process.

6- The Hajj and Umrah performers who have overstayed in the Kingdom (before 28/6/1429-H (3/7/2008) may rectify their status as household service worker with individuals, this procedure will be completed through the Passports Department (Jawazat), or as workers at private sector company. This procedure will firstly be processed at the Passports Department (Jawazat) to register the expatriate information, and then will proceed to the labor offices for approval on the entitlement of the establishment according to the following conditions:

• This process should not to lead to an increase in the total number of household service workers in the same family (maximum of 4 workers) after rectifying the status.

• The procedure should not lower the status of enterprises with 10 workers or more to a zone lower than the Green Zone.

• The procedure should not transfer more than expatriate workers as a maximum to the very small green entities that have 9 workers or less and have hired at least one (1) Saudi, either the employer himself or another Saudi to be paid not less than SR 3000, provided that the number of workers does not exceed 9 after the process of transfer.

7- During the specified grace period to rectify status, establishments / companies will be allowed to amend the occupations/positions of its expatriate workers, regardless of the Nitaq (range / zone) of the establishment/company and its activities in accordance with the professions laws restricted the Saudis through electronic services to the Ministry of Labor. The professions restricted to Saudis are: (senior manager of human resources – Personnel Manager – Director of business affairs and workers – Individuals’ Relations Manager – Personnel Specialist – Personnel clerk – Hiring clerk – Personnel Affairs clerk – Working hours clerk – General reception clerk – Hotel reception clerk – Patients reception clerk –Complaints clerk – Cashier – Private security guard – Liaison officer – Key duplicator – Customs broker -Workers in the women’s supply stores.

8- During the grace period for rectification, changes in the occupations of expatriate workers (household service or not household service) may be amended without any charges.

9- The opportunity to rectify status of expatriates is open to all nationalities without exception during the specified grace period.

10- During the grace period, establishments or companies will be allowed to surpass the specific percentages of expatriates in the composition of all nationalities in each establishment/company in order to facilitate the rectification process and to accommodate the numbers who are willing to rectify their working situations, and the said permission does not include recruitment requests.

GENERAL PROVISIONS:

1. Harboring, transporting, and providing jobs to illegal expatriates are considered a violation in which the perpetrator will be subjected to imprisonment for a period which may reach two years as well as financial penalties which may reach one hundred thousand riyals for every violation, and penalties will multiply in accordance with the number of violators.

2. The delay in departure of an illegal expatriate will expose him/her to imprisonment and penalties.

3. To verify that there is no private rights claims, the new employer, who transfers the services of the worker without the consent of the previous employer during the grace period, undertakes not to allow the grant of exit visas or exit-reentry to the worker during the (first three months period) from the date of transfer of the service, and if the new employer allows the worker to depart the country during this period, the new employer will be held liable for all obligations of the worker.

4. Regular household service workers are allowed to transfer their services to the private sector company with the consent of the current employer (This process could be done through the labor offices) per rules mentioned in article (5) of the Rules of the grace period for rectification of working condition.

5. Among the responsibilities of the employer is to ensure the validity of the work permit and residence permit (iqama) of the expatriate, during the time of the period of the workers residency in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and any violation may allow the worker to terminate the employment contract relationship between the worker and the employer, and allow him to transfer his services to another employer without the consent of the current employer, and the application of this rule will be continued even after the end of the grace period.

6. The expatriate will not be prevented from transferring his services in the event of failure of the employer to hand over the personal documents to the expatriate.

7. The transfer of services of workers during the grace period will not be allowed to a company which has been established after the date of the start of the grace period (25/05/1434 corresponding to 06/04/2013).

8. The working condition of expatriate can be corrected easily by (transfer of service, change of profession and etc.) through electronic services of the Ministry of Labor as long as the company/establishment has activated the second level of electronic services. (For activation of second level of electronic services, you can visit the nearest Labor Office to obtain the password for the establishment).

9. The expatriate worker, who is working with the establishment owned by a foreign investor, may transfer his services or secure final exit without the consent of the employer in case of departure of the foreign investor from the kingdom, and in absence of a legal agent, or representative for the management of the establishment.

The Ministry of Interior and the Ministry of Labor have directed all individuals who may wish to benefit from exemptions and facilitations for the grace period to follow the implementing guidelines for the grace period through the following Ministry of Interior website: www.moi.gov.sa or the website of the Ministry of Labor; www.mol.gov.sa and to obtain a copy of these procedures, or call the Customer Service Center Number 920001173.

Unofficial translation by

1- Mr. Nasrudin Usudan

2- Mr. Aziz Amerol

3- Mr. Camaloddin Hasim