New Measures to Help Expatriate Workers in Saudi Arabia

Posted on February 9, 2007


Source: Arab News

JEDDAH, 1 February 2007 — […] Saudi Arabia Labor Minister Ghazi Al-Gosaibi has taken two important decisions in order to safeguard the rights of about seven million expatriates working in the Kingdom. According to the first decision, any company or institution that delays payment of salaries of its employees for two consecutive months will be banned from recruitment for a year.

The second decision, according to the Saudi Press Agency, allows expatriate workers to transfer sponsorship to another company or employer if their company delays payment of their salaries for three months consecutively. “In this situation, a worker can approach the labor office to get his sponsorship transferred to another employer without waiting for a year,” the ministry said. Under the current law, a worker cannot transfer his sponsorship until he or she has completed one year under the original sponsor.

“This is a very humane and long-overdue decision,” said Edward Flood, an American teacher who has been working in the Kingdom for more than 20 years. “This decision should have been taken long ago. What remains to be seen is how — or if — the ministry will implement its decision and what actions will be taken against offenders. Being an Islamic country, Saudi Arabia should not at all allow such a practice that is totally un-Islamic.”

“This is a welcome development for Filipino workers in the Kingdom. It means the rights of our workers will be well protected,” said Philippine Consul General Pendosina Lomondot in Jeddah. He noted that the delay or nonpayment of salaries is one of the major complaints of Overseas Filipino Workers in Saudi Arabia. Due to the large number of Filipino workers who have labor disputes with their employers, the Philippines has set up four labor offices in the Kingdom. [More]

Note from Rafik Beekun: We will believe that these measures are working when they are actually implemented. Please click here to read the remainder of the article.