Migrants freed to transfer sponsorship in Saudi Arabia

Expatriates have the right to transfer sponsorships if their sponsors delay their salaries for more than three months, according to Minister of Labor Mufrij Al-Haqbani.

He said the ministry has received a number of complaints against employers who delay the payment of salaries.

“We have activated the video call service which enables employees and workers to directly reach me. We have implemented the service in Jeddah, Rafhaa and Al-Dwadmi. The service is a part of the ministry’s plan to facilitate the interaction between employees and the ministry,” said Al-Haqbani.

The video calling service was activated in October.

“Callers can reach the minister or other officials in the ministry by calling customer service at 19911. Employers and employees no longer need to visit the main Labor Office in Riyadh to have their inquiries answered and paperwork processed,” said Al-Haqbani.

There are so far 60 labor offices in the Kingdom offering the video calling service.

He said delaying the salaries of employees and workers is a clear violation of the Saudi Labor Law.

“Workers have the right to transfer their sponsorship if their sponsors delay their salaries for three months. The workers do not need the permission of the sponsor in such cases and can sue the sponsor for delaying the salary,” said Al-Haqbani.

He also said the sponsor will be obliged by law to pay the salary with compensation if the matter goes to court.

The Labor Ministry implemented the Wage Protection System (WPS) in 2013. The system was implemented in stages. In June 2013 it became compulsory for companies with more than 3,000 employees, in September 2013 it was made compulsory for companies with more than 2,000 employees, in December 2013 it was made mandatory for companies with more than 1,000 employees, in November 2014 it became compulsory for companies with more than 500 employees, in February 2015 it became compulsory for companies with more than 320 employees, in April 2015 companies with more than 240 employees were brought under WPS purview, in June 2015 WPS was expanded to cover companies with more than 170 employees, in August 2015 WPS became compulsory for companies with more than 130 employees and in November 2015 it was made mandatory for companies with more than 100 employees.

“The ministry prioritizes the rights of the employees. The ministry is focusing its efforts on making more electronic services available. The move to a more digitalized ministry will improve the economy of the Kingdom and will expedite its development,” said Al-Haqbani.

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