RIYADH: Saudi Arabia has developed three policies to increase the protection of workers’ rights, Sattam Alharbi, Deputy Minister of Human Resource and Social Development (HRSD) for Control and Development of Work Environment has said. Alharbi was speaking on the sidelines of the International Migration Review Forum at the UN between May 17 and 20, 2022, in New York.
Alharbi participated as keynote speaker in a session on labor mobility and human rights and how to improve labor migration governance for migrant workers in the Middle East.
The event highlighted the strong partnership between the Philippines, as the labor-sending country, and Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, as countries of destination. It also served to review the goal of enhancing the availability and flexibility of pathways for regular migration, facilitating fair recruitment and safeguard conditions to ensure decent work.
Alharbi emphasized the necessity of enhancing international collaboration to ensure safe, and orderly migration by harmonizing national policies and establishing bilateral and multilateral partnerships.
The three polices that he mentioned were the National Policy for Occupational Health and Safety; the National Policy to Ban Child Labor; and the National Policy to Abolish Forced Labor.
He discussed the Saudi Vision 2030 objectives connected to expatriate security, highlighting accomplishments such as their protection during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the vision's proactive role in covering several of the Global Compact for Migration goals.
He said that Saudi Arabia has signed 23 agreements with labor-exporting countries, the contents of which are per international standards, to ensure a partnership based on the promotion of human rights between employees and employers.
He also spoke of several initiatives launched by the Kingdom, stemming from its strategic objectives to improve the working and living conditions of expatriates and to attract international competencies, such as the initiative to improve contractual relationships and the vocational examination program. It also sought to activate new types of visas to meet market needs and provide more flexible options to attract skilled workers.
He stressed the Kingdom's initiatives to protect expatriate rights, such as the wage protection system that monitors employer’s compliance, the labor contracts electronic authentication program that allows workers to approve the terms of their contracts through a unified platform, the “Weddy” program to settle labor disputes, and the labor initiative.