Expat workers in Riyadh. Illustrative image. Image Credit: Reuters file

Cairo: Saudi Arabia’s labour authorities have said the non-Saudi worker’s expenses, including recruitment fees, will be borne by the employer.

“Article 40 in the labour law stipulates that the employer bears recruitment fees for the non-Saudi worker, iqama and work licence fees, their renewal and related fines,” the kingdom’s Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development said on Twitter.

Other expenses borne by the employer of an expat worker include profession change fees, exit/re-entry as well as the home return flight ticket for the employee after their contractural relationship ends.

In 2020, the kingdom introduced major labour reforms, drastically improving its sponsorship system. The reforms, which went into effect in the ensuing year, allow job mobility and regulate the exit and re-entry visa issuance for expatriate workers without employers’ approval.

Millions of foreign workers benefit from the reforms, as they apply to all expatriate workers in the private sector and feature specific control measures protecting rights of employees and employers.

Employee mobility allows expatriate workers to transfer between employers upon the expiry of the binding work contract without the employer’s consent. The exit and re-entry visa reforms, meanwhile, allow expatriate workers to travel outside Saudi Arabia without the employers’ approval after submitting a request, the Ministry of Human Resources said at the time.

The final exit visa reforms allow the foreign worker to leave the kingdom after the end of the employment contract without the consent of the employer, who will be electronically notified. The worker bears all consequences for breaking the contract.

The ministry said the reforms are aimed to increase flexibility, effectiveness and competitiveness of the labour market in the kingdom.