Monday, 15 September 2014

Tips for Newcomers in Saudi Arabia

Saudi Government has been taking care of in a better way of not only those expatriates living in Saudi Arabia but also those expatriates who are coming to Saudi Arabia on new visas. There was a time when they were not treated well and no one used to take care of them. They were left upon their Kafeels to do whatever they wanted to do with them. However, time has changed now. Ministry of Labor has been issuing new rules to reduce the exploitation of newcomer expatriates by the Kafeels. Purpose of writing this post is to let the newcomers to Saudi Arabia aware about their rights and duties. I would request everyone reading this post to share it with others so that new expatriates coming to Saudi Arabia are not exploited by their Kafeels.

  1. After you have stepped into Saudi Arabia, one thing you must do is the mental adjustment. Keep in mind that you are no more in your country where you used to do whatever you wanted to do. This is country of Saudis. Do not expect that your basic rights are available to you. Forget about the status and attitude you used to enjoy in your country. This is Saudi Arabia and you will have to live as a second level resident.
  2. Your first objective is to start work with your Kafeel and complete your probation period. You must have noticed that the visa duration of the visa stamped on your passport is for 90 days. This is actually probation period you need to complete. Please read this article to know in detail about the rules of probation period as per Saudi Labor Law “Probation Rules under Saudi Labor Law
  3. Your Kafeel may issue Iqama (Residence Permit) for you even without completion of probation period. Well, I think you should not delay the first Iqama if you are satisfied with your job. Your Iqama is everything while you are living in Saudi Arabia as an expatriate. You will have to go through a certain procedure for the Iqama to be issued. This procedure has been explained in this link “Procedure to Apply for First Iqama”. As mentioned earlier, your Iqama is the basic document of your stay in Saudi Arabia. It is card issued in Arabic language. We have also issued a guideline for the newcomers to understand what is written on Iqama. Please follow this link if you want to understand what is written in your Iqama “Knowing Details on Iqama

  • Before signing any contract with your employer, you must know about the basic rights given to you by Saudi Labor Law. You cannot sign the terms which are contrary to them. For example, Saudi Labor Law permits a week of 48 working hours. Your employer cannot ask you to more than that without compensating you. In order to know about all the rights available to you under Saudi Labor Law, please go through this link. “Rights of Expatriates in Saudi Arabia
  • Before signing an employment contract, I think it is also better if you check the general trends of salaries in Saudi Arabia of your profession. We have compiled a list of “Average Salary by Profession in Saudi Arabia which can be helpful for you.
  • As per Saudi Labor Law, every expatriate living in Saudi Arabia must have a contract signed between him and employer. If your employer does not provide a contract to you, you should ask about it from him. Keep in mind; in case of any dispute this contract is the basic legitimate document. You should not sign a contract blindly. You should take care of many points in the contract and guidance can be obtained from the following link “Factors to consider when signing and employment contract”. It is possible that you may have been given an Arabic version of the contract. Please read the guidelines in this link if it happens. “Legality of English Arabic Employment Contract
  • Let’s go to the other side of the picture now. If you are a newcomer and you are not satisfied with the employer, you can resign within the probation period and your employer is obligated to issue a final exit to you. Please go through this link to read more detail about it. “Final Exit with in Probation Period
  • A newcomer in Saudi Arabia can transfer his sponsorship to another Kafeel without permission of the current Kafeel if one of the following two conditions is met. However, newcomer must have to contact labor office in this regard. Labor office will issue a paper to him authorizing him to search for job outside and get the sponsorship transferred. The conditions described below are only applied to newcomers. There are some more conditions under which other expatriates can also transfer the sponsorship without permission of the Kafeel. These conditions have been explained in this link “Transfer of Sponsorship without permission of Kafeel”. The conditions for newcomers are;

  • o   The Iqama is not issued to him even after 90 days of his arrival to Saudi Arabia.
    o   Kafeel is in red or yellow category of Nitaqat. In order to know about the Nitaqat Category, you must read the details provided in this link. “Saudization or Nitaqat in Saudi Arabia


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