Career barriers: Foreign executives demand more rights

Career barriers: Foreign executives demand more rights
Updated 16 March 2014

Career barriers: Foreign executives demand more rights

Career barriers: Foreign executives demand more rights

Several expatriates have accused their sponsors of refusing to release them to work elsewhere, and instead forcing them to leave the country.
Firaz Farooqui, a business development manager at a hospitality firm in Jeddah, alleged that his sponsor refuses to allow him to work for another company.
Farooqui said the company he currently works for pays him very little.
“I’m not even paid for overtime. It is really frustrating. I have applied to several other firms and received job offers with satisfying pay but my company does not want to release me.”
Farooqui said: “I believe that these companies are violating both labor and human rights laws.”
He said: “When a person comes to the Kingdom on a private visa, it is his right to work anywhere he wants and it is illegal for a company to hold him back and force him to work against his will.”
Farooqui claimed that laws protecting expatriates are complicated and not enforced.
Joel David, an Indian accountant, said his company does not want him to work elsewhere, and is forcing him to exit.
“While discussing the issue with senior colleagues, I learned that the company fears that their employees might move to rival companies and leak its secrets.”
Alaa Adnan Yamani, a lawyer and managing partner at the law firm Yamani, Jamjoom & Baroom, said workers' visas belong to employers.
“The law stipulates, principally, that an employer should issue an exit visa once the employment contract and the work permit expires,” said Yamani.
“However, if the employee, after spending at least one year in the job, finds another job and the new employer is willing to transfer the services of the employee to him, then the first employer may not refuse this transfer.”
Yamani added: “If an employee finds another job at the end of his contract and work permit and his employer refuses to transfer his services without a valid reason, then the employee may resort to the authorities to transfer his services to the new employer without the consent of the first employer."
He said: “If the employee could not find a new job prior to the expiration of the work contract and work permit then the employee should leave the country.”
Yamani said a company has the right to issue an exit visa if an employee is not suitable for a job. It is also obliged to issue an exit visa when an employee's contract and work permit expires, he said.