Question three: What are the labor law requirements in Saudi Arabia regarding hiring of highly skilled expatriate technicians and managers?
The Ministry of Labor sets rules to regulate labor employment. Part 3 of the labor law is about employment of non-Saudis and it includes the following principles:
– Recruitment from abroad for the purpose of work may not be undertaken without the approval of the Ministry.
– A non- Saudi may not engage in or be allowed to engage in any work except after obtaining a work permit from the Ministry, according to the form prepared by it for this purpose. The conditions for granting the permit are as follows:
(1) The worker has lawfully entered the country and is authorized to work.
(2) He possesses the professional and academic qualifications which the country needs and which are not possessed by citizens or the available number of such citizens is insufficient to meet the needs, or that he belongs to the class of ordinary workers that the country needs.
(3) He has a contract with the employer and is under his responsibility.
– No permit or license required by any other agency for engaging in a work or a profession may substitute for the said work permit.
– Prior to renewing the work permit, it shall be ascertained that none of the Saudi applicants possesses the required qualifications and is willing to undertake the same work.
– The Minister shall issue a decision specifying the professions and jobs which are prohibited for non-Saudis.
– The work contract for non-Saudis shall be written and of a specified period. If the contract does not specify the duration, the duration of the work permit shall be deemed as the duration of the contract.
– An employer may not employ the worker in a profession other than the one specified in his work permit. Before following the legal procedures for changing the profession, a worker is prohibited to engage in a profession other than his.
– According to article 39 of the labor law:
(1) Unless he has followed the stipulated legal rules and procedures, an employer may not allow his worker to work for others, and a worker may not work for other employers. Similarly, an employer may not employ workers of other employers.
(2) An employer may not allow a worker to work for his own account and a worker may not work for his own account.
Article 40 of the labor law states that,
(1) An employer shall incur the fees pertaining to recruitment of non-Saudi workers, the fees of the residence permit (Iqama) and work permit together with their renewal and the fines resulting from their delay, as well as the fees pertaining to change of profession, exit and re-entry visas and return tickets to the worker’s home country at the end of the relation between the two parties.
(2) A worker shall incur the costs of returning to his home country if he is unfit for work or if he wishes to return to his home country without a legitimate reason.
(3) An employer shall bear the fees of transferring the services of a worker who wishes to transfer his service to him.
(4) An employer shall be responsible for the cost of preparing the body of a deceased worker and transporting it to the location where the contract was concluded, or where the worker was recruited unless the worker is interred in the Kingdom with the approval of his family. The employer shall be relieved if the General Organization for Social Insurance (GOSI) undertakes the same.
– Last but not least, the Regulations shall specify the conditions for recruitment from abroad, transfer of services and change of profession, and the controls and procedures thereof. (Ministry of Labor )