Saudi Arabia cancels individual sponsorship of expats

Published:  2 Apr at 3 PM
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As reported by Emirates 247, Saudi Arabia will be preventing its citizens from sponsoring expat workers, as well as restricting visa sponsorship to firms, as part of its continued strategy to develop the private sector and battle local joblessness.

The new system will be revealed to the Saudi cabinet for approval in the next few months, said Alwatan, the Arabic language daily.

Another source said that the Gulf kingdom, the world’s biggest oil basin as well as the largest Arab economy, is considering altering its weekly holiday from Thursday/Friday to Friday/Saturday, for both the private and public sectors.

According to Alwatan, a committee formed by the Ministry of Labour has recently conducted a study about the substitution of the individual sponsorship scheme by a corporate system. The plan involves the formation of a new group to be named “the Expatriate Labour Authority”, which will be affiliated with the Ministry of Labour, said the newspaper.

Saudi Arabia has been attempting to expand the private sector to make it more prominent in the domestic economy, after official reports said that it would be the main supply of employment in the next few years.

Foreigners make up over 90% of the employees in the private sector, but authorities hope this will change drastically after 2011’s enforcement of an extreme job nationalization plan called Nitaqat (ranges).

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