Saudi Arabia increases expat worker mobility

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Sarah Peddie

Expat workers in Saudi Arabia will now have better job mobility under changes to the kafala sponsorship system.

Saudi Arabia has introduced their Labor Reform Initiative (LRI) which offers more freedom to migrant and expat workers.

These changes will benefit around 10 million migrant and expat workers throughout the Kingdom. 

Foreign workers within the private sector will have improved job mobility - they will be able to change jobs and leave the country without their employers consent. 


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The changes have come in as part of Saudi’s effort to build an attractive job market.

It will also allow expat workers to directly apply for government services and their employment contracts will be documented digitally. 

The initiative will help expat and foreign workers get residency status that is not tied to a specific employer and will allow exit and re-entry visas whilst protecting the rights of the employee and their employer. 

Back in December, The Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development (HRSD) along with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs held workshops with a number of diplomatic missions and international organizations in Saudi Arabia to brief them on the newly launched LRI

The Ministry presented the workshops in the context of Saudi Arabia’s 2030 vision where the main LRI services were outlined.

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