employment contract
In 2020, Saudi Arabia introduced major labour reforms, drastically improving its sponsorship system. Illustrative image. Image Credit: Agency

Cairo: Saudi labour authorities have urged private sector businesses to expedite the electronic authentication of employment contracts under a gradual plan aimed to safeguard rights of employers and employees.

Earlier this year, the Saudi Ministry of Human Resources unveiled an authentication plan via its Qiwa platform obligating private sector establishments to document 20 per cent of their employees’ contracts in the first quarter of 2023, 50 per cent in the second half, and 80 per cent in the third quarter.

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The ministry said that the employers committed to authenticate 80 per cent or more of their employees’ contracts via Qiwa will have full access to its services.

The plan is designed to preserve rights of parties to the contractual relationship, provide a stable labour environment conducive for the employ-ee’s productivity increase and boosting the job market in the kingdom.

Authentication via Qiwa, where the ministry’s services are provided, also helps verify employers’ compliance with labour rules and contract data as well as update information related to employment contracts of for-eign and Saudi workers in the private sector.

Should the worker and the employing establishment approve it, the contract becomes authenticated and accredited by the ministry.

In 2020, Saudi Arabia 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 work-ers without employers’ approval.

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.

Saudi Arabia, a country of around 32.2 million people, is home to a large community of foreign migrants.