Saudi Arabia’s Labor Reform Initiative (LRI) officially came into effect on Sunday, March 14, 2021.
The Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development (HRSD) unveiled the initiative’s detailed user guide.
As per the ministry, the employer will have a period of 10 days to inquire about the exit and re-entry visa application submitted by his expat employee. If the employer does not respond within the time limit (10 days), the worker will be able to issue a single visa for 30 days, within five days from this deadline’s expiry.
At the same time, the worker will not be able to issue a single or multiple exit re-entry visa upon the expiry of the work contract with the employer. As per the ministry, employers are not permitted to cancel exit re-entry visas issued by expat employees.
According to the ministry, the employer will still be able to issue exit re-entry visas for their expatriate employees in the same manner as before.
Regarding the final exit visa, the ministry guide states that the service will be available to both the employer and the employee as well.
According to the new regulations, the employer will have a 10 day period to inquire about the worker’s request to issue a final exit visa, and in the absence of any response from the employer, the expatriate worker can issue a final exit visa, and the visa’s validity will be 15 days from the date of issue.
The ministry clarified that if an expatriate worker leaves the Kingdom permanently during the contract’s validity period, he will be permanently banned from returning to the kingdom. This is in the event that the applicant obtains an exit and re-entry visa and does not return to the Kingdom before the expiry of the visa to complete the remaining period of the employment contract.
Job Mobility Service
The Ministry stipulates that companies wishing to obtain services from an expatriate worker must comply with the provisions of the Wages Protection Program at a rate of not less than 80% over the last three months.
In addition, there should be 100% documentation of the employment contract in the establishment and at least 80% of the commitment of the self-assessment program along with the mandatory application of the approved internal work regulation.
Only those expatriate workers who fall within the category of professions subject to the Labor Law will be allowed to transfer their services to another employer. Another important condition is that the worker should have completed at least 12 months with the current employer after his first entry into the Kingdom.
There should not be another request pending related to the transfer of the service. The transfer of services shall comply with the notice period upon the validity of the documented employment contract.