What are the rights of expatriates under the Saudi Labor Law ?

It has been found a lot of expatriates are being exploited by their employers. It not only the mistake of the employers that they are exploiting, but also the mistake of the employees as a majority of them do not know their rights under the Saudi Labor Law. It is an known and recognized fact that the employees who are exploited, are those who purchase free visa or azad visa from their sponsors. This article briefs on the rights of expatriates under the Saudi Labour Law.

Recruitment expenditure

The employer is not permitted to demand from the workers to bear the expenditure that is relevant to his recruitment, and fees related to other issues such as renewal of Iqama (residence permit), work licence, the fees due to delay in renewal, sponsorship transfer’s fees & fees for re-entry visas.

Right to the Iqama

Residence permit in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is known as Iqama. Iqama is the authorization that allows to reside in Saudi Arabia and you need to keep it in your possession at all times. As an employee it is your right to request for an Iqama from your employer and it is his duty to bear all the expenditures related to getting an Iqama as per the article 40.1 of the Saudi Labor Law). If the employer refuses to provide an Iqama, you have the right to bring him to court. But the rights are different if you happen to come on a free or azad visa.

Period of probation & contract

As per the Saudi Labor Law, the period of probation must not go beyond 3 months. It is your right to request for a appropriate agreement subsequent to your probation period completion. If your employers request for a probation period extension, you must not permit it as it is illegal under the Saudi Labor Law. If the contract happens to be in Arabic Language, you can ask for the contract in English translation or in both languages. At present, a majority of the companies make use of the bilingual agreement.

Working hours

Usually in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, in a week 48 working hours are permitted in a week. If your employer demands you to work for more hours, then you are in fact eligible to an overtime of 1.5 times of the usual time wages.

Termination & Resignation

As an employee you should provide prior notice to the employer if you desire to leave the organization and the same go for the employer.In certain cases the employees can resign without giving prior notice. For eg, if the employer commits a fraud by paying you less salary or wages then the one mentioned in the contract, then you have the right to resign or terminate the contract without giving prior notice.

Expenditure of transfer fee

It is a normal procedure in Saudi Arabia that nearly 99.99% organizations do not bear the entire expense for the transfer of Iqama. Most of the companies bear only the expenses that are equal to payable amount as the 1st transfer of the Iqama i.e., SR.2,000. Normally as per the Saudi Labor Law, the Kafeel to whom which the employee is transferring will bear all of the expenditures relevant to the Iqama transfer fee.

Disability or Death at the work site.

If an employee or worker dies, or get partial or complete disability at workplace, then he is eligible to “Work injury compensation under the Saudi Labor Law” from his sponsor and also the “ GOSI benefits”. This has been already discussed. For more details read the article “Death compensation procedures that is followed in Saudi Arabia”.

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