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Additional facilities and exemptions to correct violations of residency and labor laws
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 15 - 05 - 2013

All establishments, individuals and foreign workers must hasten to correct violations of residency and labor laws, benefiting from these additional facilities and exemptions before the end of the grace period on Shaban 24, 1434 (July 3, 2013), after which the concerned government departments will start inspection campaigns and will apply the law on violating foreigners and sponsors. The facilities are:
• Exempting all expatriates who have violated the system of residency and labor and who are seeking to correct their status and remain to work in the Kingdom from the penalties and fines pertaining to their violations, except normal government fees, for those whose violations that happened before Jumada Al-Awwal 25, 1434, corresponding to April 6, 2013.
• In case of final exit during the correctional period, fees related to iqamas, work permits and punishments as well as fines related to the violations during the previous period will be waived. Foreigners who have not been fingerprinted before will have to do this so their data is updated. This procedure will not prevent the expatriates from returning to the Kingdom if they get new recruitment visas. This procedure will be done through the passports department.
• The correctional facilities do not include infiltrators who have illegally entered the Kingdom.
• The foreign manpower who have been reported to be absent from work (Huroob) and those whose iqamas and work permits have expired can correct their status either by going back to work with their current employers or by transferring their iqamas to new employers without the need for the approval of their incumbent employers. If the expatriates have any financial differences with their current employers, they can settle them through the concerned judicial organizations taking the following into consideration:
— The transfer of the services of the foreign worker to a private sector establishment that has 10 or more employees, should not cause the company to fall below the green Nitaqat level.
— Not more than three expatriates maximum should be allowed to transfer their iqamas to the very small green entities (whose employees are nine or less and who have employed at least one Saudi citizen, whether it is the owner of the establishment himself or any other Saudi with a monthly salary of not less than SR3,000) on condition that the total number of the employees of the small establishment should not increase to more than nine after the transfer.
• This procedure is done through the labor offices.
• The domestic helps who are absent from work (who are reported as Huroob) and whose iqamas have expired will be allowed to correct their status either by going back to their current employers (if they agree to this) or transfer their iqamas to new employers as domestic helps. This procedure is done through the passport department. They can also transfer their services to the private sector establishments without the need for the approval of their incumbent employer. This procedure is done through the labor offices under the following conditions:
— The number of the domestic helps for each family should not be more than four after the transfer.
— The transfer of the domestic helps to the private sector establishments with 10 employees or more should not cause these establishments to go below the green Nitaqat level.
— Not more than four foreign workers maximum should be allowed to transfer their iqamas to the very small establishments within the green Nitaqat level (whose manpower is nine persons or less and which have employed a Saudi who might be the owner of the establishment himself or employed another Saudi with a monthly salary which is not less than SR3,000), on condition that the total number of workers should not exceed nine.
• Expatriates who came for Haj or Umrah before Jumada Al-Akhirah 28, 1429 (July 3, 2008) are allowed to correct their status as domestic helps for Saudi individuals. This procedure will be done through the passport department. They can also join private sector establishments. In this case the passport department will register the expatriates' data before going to the labor offices to approve the legality of the establishment under the following conditions:
— This action should not result in the increase of domestic helps for a Saudi family to more than four after the correction.
— This procedure should not bring down establishments with 10 workers or more below the green Nitaqat level.
— This procedure should not lead to the transfer of more than four expatriates maximum to the very small green establishments (with nine workers or less and who have employed a Saudi who may be the owner of the establishment or any other Saudi with a monthly salary not less than SR3,000), on condition that the number of manpower should not go above nine after the transfer.
• Private establishments are allowed to amend the job titles of expatriates in their iqamas regardless of the Nitaqat level of the establishment or its activities during the correctional period through the electronic services of the Labor Ministry.
• Change of job titles for the foreign workers (domestic helps or others) is allowed without any fees.
• The correction of the status during the grace period is open for all nationalities without exceptions.
• During the correction period the establishments are allowed to surpass the nationality quotas to facilitate the correction process and incorporate the largest possible number of foreign workers wishing to correct their status. The private sector establishments will not be allowed in this case to make requests for recruitment visas.
General Rules
• Employment and accommodation of violating expatriates will be punished by two-years' imprisonment and a fine of SR100,000 for each violation. The punishments will increase according to the number of the violators.
• A violating expatriate who does not correct his status and who postpones his departure will be imprisoned and fined.
• To make sure that there are no financial claims, the new employer, to whom the iqama of the foreign worker has been transferred without the consent of his previous sponsor, should make a pledge that he will not give his new foreign employee a final exit visa or an exit-reentry one for three months from the date the worker's iqama has been transferred to him. In case the new employer allows his foreign worker to leave the country during this period, he will be responsible for all legal commitments the expatriate might have accrued as a result.
• The legal domestic helps can transfer their iqamas to the private sector establishments without the consent of their incumbent employer. This procedure will be done through the labor offices according to the regulations stipulated in the item titled "housemaids" in the rules of the correctional campaign.
• It is the duty of the employer to make sure that the iqama and the work permit of the foreign worker are valid throughout his stay in the Kingdom. Any violation of this will give the right to the foreign employee to rescind the contractual relationship with his current employer and move to another one without his consent. These rules will apply even after the termination of the grace period.
• The refusal of an employer to give his foreign worker the required documents will not impede the expatriate from transferring his services to another employer.
• The expatriates covered by the grace period will not be allowed to transfer their services to any private establishment that has been established after the beginning of the grace period, which was Jumada Al-Awwal 25, 1434, corresponding to April 6, 2013.
• The correction of the status of the expatriates (iqama transfer, change of job title and others) can be done easily through the electronic services of the Labor Ministry as long as the establishment has reactivated the second level of the electronic services. Doing this will require a visit to the nearest labor office to obtain a special password.
• An expatriate laborer who is working for an establishment owned by a foreign investor has the option to transfer his services to another employer or leave the country without the approval of the business owner in case the foreign investor has left the country without leaving behind a legal representative or someone to run the establishment.
• The expatriates can change their job titles to any occupation except to those limited to Saudis only according to the needs of the employer and according to his qualifications. The responsibility to validate the qualifications of the foreign worker at the time of the job title change lies with the employer alone. The job title can easily be changed using the Labor Ministry's electronic site. A visit to a labor office is necessary for the change to jobs requiring professional certificates (medicine, engineering and others). The jobs limited to the Saudis include: Senior human resources manager, personnel manager, director of individual affairs, specialist in personnel affairs, clerk in personnel affairs, employment official, time keeper, general receptionist, hotel receptionist, hospital receptionist, notary public, cashier, security guard, pursuer, key copier and customs clearing agents.
Compiled from local newspapers


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