Labor Ministry issues status correction guidelines

Labor Ministry issues status correction guidelines
Updated 31 May 2013

Labor Ministry issues status correction guidelines

Labor Ministry issues status correction guidelines

Expatriates wishing to legalize their work status are exempted from penalties and fines incurred before April 6, the Ministry of Labor (MoL) announced yesterday.
In advertisements published in local newspapers in eight languages, the ministry said the violators have to pay fees for the correction process.
“In case of final exit during the correction period, which ends on July 3, expatriates will be exempted from the fees of residency permit, work permit, penalties and fines associated with the violations,” it said.
The taking of fingerprints during this process will not prevent expats from returning to the Kingdom for work, the ministry assured, adding that the exit process would be carried out through the Passport Department.
The corrective process does not include intruders who have entered the Kingdom illegally. Expatriate laborers who are absent from work (declared as huroob) or those whose residency and work permits have expired can correct their status by returning to work with the current employer or transferring their services to another employer.
“Such expats will not need the approval of their current employer for transfers,” the ministry clarified. However, it stressed that such transfers should not make the new employer lose its “Green” status.
No more than four expatriate laborers should be transferred to the very small “Green” entities having 9 workers or less,” the ministry said, adding that such firms should employ at least one Saudi with a minimum salary of SR 3,000.
A domestic help absent from work and against whom escape notifications have been made or those whose residency permit and work permits have expired are allowed to correct their status.
“They can either return to their current employer or transfer their service to another employer as domestic laborers,” the ministry said, adding that this procedure is done through the Passport Department.
Domestic workers are also allowed to transfer their services to private enterprises without the need for consent of the current employer and this process can be done through the Labor Ministry. The total number of domestic laborers in a single family shall not exceed four domestic laborers after the transfer.
The ministry stressed that it would not allow more than four expats to transfer their services to the very small “Green” entities having 9 or less workers.
Those who came on Haj and Umrah visas and illegally stayed in the Kingdom before July 3, 2008 are allowed to correct their status through the Passport Department to work as household labor with individual sponsors. They can also work for private enterprises.
Enterprises shall be allowed to modify professions of their expatriate workers, regardless of the class of the enterprise and its activities through the Labor Ministry’s electronic services during the grace period without any charge. This service is available for domestic and non-domestic workers.
“During the correction period enterprises shall be allowed to exceed the percentages of nationalities within the structure of each enterprise in order to facilitate the process,” the ministry said.
It warned that employment, transport and sheltering of illegal expatriates are violations that lead to imprisonment for a period up to two years as well as financial penalties up to SR 100,000 for each violation.
Employers who delay the departure of illegal foreigners would face punishment including jail. New employers to whom workers have transferred their services without the consent of former employer should not allow them to leave the country on exit visas for three months to protect legal rights.
Employers have to keep the residency permits of their foreign workers valid during their stay in the Kingdom. If they fail, the contract will be terminated and the worker will be allowed to transfer his services to another employer.
Expatriates who work for an enterprise owned by a foreign investor may transfer his service or get final exit without the consent of the employer, if the investor left the Kingdom with no legal agent to manage his business.
The ministry’s guidelines for correction are available in English, Arabic, Urdu, Hindi, Malayalam, Tagalog, Turkish and Indonesian. The rules in English can be obtained by logging into bit.ly/English_msg.