Saudi government forbids expat wives sponsorship transfer

Published:  10 Jun at 4 PM
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Back in March the Saudi Labour Ministry officially warned expats against allowing their wives or dependents with residency visas (iqamas) to work in the private sector, explaining that this violated Saudi residency laws and regulations. Moreover, those who have been sponsored are not allowed to work in any profession other than the one for which they have been recruited. Since then, there have been reports that the Labour Ministry is looking into the idea of issuing work permits to expats’ wives and daughters for jobs which Saudi women aren’t interested in or qualified for.

According to an Interior Ministry spokesman, hundreds of female expats are working illegally in violation of the emirate’s strict labour laws, most of whom are teaching in private schools. A temporary amnesty declared in March runs out on 9 July and, fearing that that they may have to close their schools due to a shortage of qualified staff, some private-school proprietors have even rescheduled end-of-term exams to ensure these are completed before that date.

Kuwait too is cracking down on illegal workers. The authorities aim to cut expat numbers by 100,000 every year over the next decade. Furthermore, efforts have been made to segregate health services for nationals and foreigners and a bill has been introduced in parliament to end the subsidizing of essential services for expats, which costs the country KD 6 billion every year. Finally, expats need to be particularly mindful of traffic regulations, since violations have recently led to a large number of deportations.
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