Saudi Arabia to ease key restrictions on migrant workers

2 min readNov 5, 2020


Saudi Arabia will ease foreign staff’ written agreement restrictions, as well as the liberty to alter jobs, the kingdom’s deputy minister for human resources has aforementioned.

The plans, which can become in March 2021, embody foreign workers’ right to go away the country while not employers’ permission, Abdullah bin Nasser Abuthunain told reporters on Wednesday.

Restrictions in Asian country have tied innumerable low-paid and vulnerable migrant workers to their employers in conditions that are rife with abuse and exploitation.

The Ministry of Human Resource and Social Development said the reforms will permit foreign workers the correct to change jobs by transferring their support from one employer to another, leave and come in the country and secure final exit visas while not the consent of their leader, that had long been required.

The new questionable “Labour Relation Initiative” can have an effect on or so ten million foreign staff within the kingdom, a few third of Saudi Arabia’s total population.

Human Rights Watch man of science Rothna lady aforementioned the knowledge provided to this point shows Saudi authorities are removing some components of the “kafala” support system in situ across multiple Gulf Arab states that tie foreign workers’ status to their employer.

Qatar, which is getting ready to host consequent FIFA World Cup in 2022, has recently introduced similar changes to its labour laws.

Begum delineated the 3 changes to the Saudi law as “significant steps that would improve migrant staff’ conditions”, however cautioned it doesn’t seem to be a full termination of the “kafala” system.

“Migrant workers still want associate leader to sponsor them to return to the country and employers should still have management over their residency status,” aforementioned Begum, whose work focuses on migrant rights, domestic workers and women’s rights within the Middle East.

Under Saudi Arabia’s restrictive “kafala” system, workers had very little power to flee abuse as a result of their employers controlled their exit from the country and their ability to alter jobs.

Begum recently wrote concerning what number employers exploited this management by taking staff’ passports, forcing them to figure excessive hours and denying them wages. This has semiconductor diode to thousands of workers fleeing their employers and turning into undocumented.




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