Sponsorship rules clarified
Riyadh, June 28, 2007
Expatriate workers can transfer visas only after getting a NOC from their sponsor, the Saudi Ministry of Labour said.
The ministry clarification came soon after rumours spread among expatriates that permission of the sponsor would no longer be required for visa transfer, said a report in the Arab News.
'The condition of sponsor approval for the transfer of visas to another sponsor at the end of contract has been specified in the executive bylaw of the new Labour Law, enforced on April 20, 2007,' the ministry said in a statement.
The employee would still need an NOC unless his or her contract specifically stipulates that the sponsor will provide an NOC at the end of the contract period, it said.
However, ministry officials pointed out that workers could get their visas tranfered in special cases but with the approval of labour minister,
'Visa transfers would be permitted if the sponsor delays legal action against the worker; on humanitarian grounds and other conditions determined by the minister.'
However, the new executive register of the labour system set special cases in which an approval letter would not be required for a transferee to work in another company, said Mohammed Al Dwaish, a legal consultant in the Labour Ministry.
He added that the minister of labour would be deciding in some cases whether the transfer request of moving to another company without approval from his sponsor is granted or not.
'If the employee is mistreated in any way by his sponsor or not paid he will be transferred to the other company which seeks him without approval from his sponsor,' Dwaish said.