Monday, June 2, 2014

Step towards Ending Kafeel System in Saudi Arabia

“There is no more Kafeel System in Saudi Arabia; Shoura has decided to end this System like Qatar did while ago.” 

This is the wish of all expatriates living in Saudi Arabia from many decades. But hopes are running high now days since the announcement of Qatar to abolish the Kafeel system. Many of the readers would not even try to agree that Kafeel system can ever be abolished in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia but recent reforms and steps taken by the Saudi Government and Ministry of Labor suggest that this dream will come true sooner or later. Movement of free labor is very important and basic factor for any business economy to grow. 

It should be noted that according to current rules, Iqama transfer can be made without consent and approval of the current sponsor in following 4 situations.
  1. If current Kafeel is in Red or Yellow Nitaqat Category, you don’t even need to go to labor court. Iqama can be transferred without any problem. I have explained the procedure in this article. "Process of Transferring Sponsorship if Kafeel is Red"
  2. If Sponsor does not provide Iqama to the employee even after completing three months of arrival in Saudi Arabia and his visa has expired, he can take transfer of sponsorship without consent of Kafeel. However, in this case he will have to contact to the labor office. (Saudi Gazette)
  3. If sponsor / Kafeel of a new comer to Saudi Arabia is in red or yellow Nitaqat Category, sponsorship can be transferred without permission of Kafeel. However, you may have to contact labor office in this regard. (Arab News)
  4. If your Iqama is expired at least one month ago and your Kafeel has not renewed it. You can go to Labor office and get it transferred to new employer even without consent of Kafeel. (Arab News)

There are many decisions in the pipeline as far as change in the labor laws is concerned. Shoura is considering the law of taking the sponsorship from the Kafeel without his consent if;
  1. Salary is not paid in time
  2. Company has committed any violation having effect on its going concern
  3. The contract has ended with the Kafeel

All these actions show that Saudi Arabia is moving towards creation of a friendly labor environment. A directive has already been issued making it illegal for the employer to hold passports of their employees. However, it has not been general practice up to now. Once the rule of upholding passport by Kafeel is properly implemented, Kafeel System will become a history automatically. But the Question is, how long will this take to happen? What is your opinion?


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