Sponsorship system must go, says NSHR



RIYADH: HUDA AL-SALEH

Published — Tuesday 23 April 2013

Last update 26 April 2013 10:03 am

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The National Society for Human Rights has called for scrapping the sponsorship (kafeel) system in the Kingdom and limiting the relationship between the employer and the worker to the contract only. This means the worker can change his employer once his contract is terminated.
Mufleh Al-Qahtani, president of NSHR, said in his report to the regular meeting of the society that the inspection campaign by the Labor Ministry created disturbance in the labor market. He said the campaign came at a time when there are not enough detention centers for the illegal workers and the available ones don’t meet the requirements of human rights.
NSHR member Abdul Rahman Al-Haijan said: “There should be amendment to the ministry’s by-law to prevent it from entering any company without a prior notice,” Al-Haijan said.
“Some activities, establishments and services closed down completely,” Al-Qahtani said, adding: “We received complaints in this regard and we visited some of the affected projects in Riyadh.”
He said some of the positive aspects of the decision include regulating the labor market, reducing the security and social danger by correcting the expatriates’ situations, allowing expatriates who did not get their iqama renewed to shift the sponsorship to another employer without the approval of the previous employer and creating more jobs for Saudis.
“But the sudden enforcement of the decision will result in increase in the manpower cost which will, of course, increase prices. It will also delay the deadlines for infrastructure projects. The ministry did not give enough time for companies before conducting its campaign.”

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