Saudi moving to scrap sponsorship system
Riyadh, May 15, 2012
Saudi Arabia's Labour Ministry has started taking steps aimed at scrapping the individual sponsorship (kafala) system, Debuty Labour Minister for Worker Afffairs Ahmad Al-Humaidan has been quoted as saying.
The ministry has replaced several provisions in the kafala system with new laws that govern the relationship between the employer and the foreign worker, an Arab News report quoting the minister said.
“We have already begun changing some technical terms related with the sponsorship system, like changing the term ‘transfer of sponsorship’ (naql kafala) to ‘transfer of services.’ Other steps included preventing sponsors from holding passports of foreign workers and canceling the condition to obtain the sponsor’s approval for workers to bring their families to the Kingdom,” he said.
At present, there are no obligations between the sponsor and the foreigner except those that come under the framework of an employer and employee, he said.
Al-Humaidan emphasized the ministry was striving hard to protect the rights of foreign workers without harming the interests of their employers.