Saudi Government has been taking care of not only those expatriates living in Saudi Arabia but also those expatriates who are coming to Saudi Arabia on new visas. There was a time when they were not treated well and no one used to take care of them.
They were left upon their Kafeels to do whatever they wanted to do with them. However, the time has changed now. Ministry of Labor has been issuing new rules to reduce the exploitation of newcomer expatriates by their sponsors.[irp]
The purpose of writing this post is to let the newcomers to Saudi Arabia aware about their rights and duties. I would request everyone reading this post to share it with others so that new expatriates coming to Saudi Arabia are not exploited by their Kafeels.
1-Mental Adjustment: After you have stepped into Saudi Arabia, one thing you must do is the mental adjustment. Keep in mind that you are no more in your country where you used to do whatever you wanted to do.
This is the country of Saudis. Do not expect that your basic rights are available to you. Forget about the status and attitude you used to enjoy in your country. This is Saudi Arabia and you will have to live as a second level resident.
2-Probation Period: Your first objective is to start work with your Kafeel and complete your probation period. You must have noticed that the visa duration of the visa stamped on your passport is for 90 days. This is actually probation period you need to complete. Please read this article to know in detail about the rules of probation period as per Saudi Labor Law “Probation Rules under Saudi Labor Law”
3-First Iqama: Your Kafeel may issue Iqama (Residence Permit) for you even without completion of probation period. Well, I think you should not delay the first Iqama if you are satisfied with your job. Your Iqama is everything while you are living in Saudi Arabia as an expatriate. You will have to go through a certain procedure for the Iqama to be issued. This procedure has been explained in this link “Procedure to Apply for First Iqama”.
4-Know your Iqama: As mentioned earlier, your Iqama is the basic document of your stay in Saudi Arabia. It is a card issued in the Arabic language. We have also issued a guideline for the newcomers to understand what is written on Iqama. Please follow this link if you want to understand what is written in your Iqama “Knowing Details on Iqama”
5-Know your Rights: Before signing any contract with your employer, you must know about the basic rights given to you by Saudi Labor Law. You cannot sign the terms which are contrary to them. For example, Saudi Labor Law permits a week of 48 working hours.
Your employer cannot ask you to more than that without compensating you. In order to know about all the rights available to you under Saudi Labor Law, please go through this link. “Rights of Expatriates in Saudi Arabia”
6-Carry your Iqama all the time: It is very important to mention here that you need to carry your iqama all the time. At any point in time, if you are not able to produce your iqama to an officer, you will be fined heavily. The maximum punishment can go up to deportation. Recommended: Fines for not carrying Iqama
7-Factors to consider when signing an employment contract: As per Saudi Labor Law, every expatriate living in Saudi Arabia must have a contract signed between him and employer. If your employer does not provide a contract to you, you should ask about it from him. Keep in mind; in the case of any dispute, this contract is the basic legitimate document.
You should not sign a contract blindly. You should take care of many points in the contract and guidance can be obtained from the following link “Factors to consider when signing and employment contract”. We have compiled a list of “Average Salary by Profession in Saudi Arabia” which can be helpful for you.
8-Final Exit within Probation Period: Let’s go to the other side of the picture now. If you are a newcomer and you are not satisfied with the employer, you can resign within the probation period and your employer is obligated to issue a final exit to you. Please go through this link to read more detail about it. “Final Exit within Probation Period”
9-Transfer of Sponsorship without permission of Kafeel: A newcomer in Saudi Arabia can transfer his sponsorship to another Kafeel without permission of the current Kafeel if one of the conditions is met. These conditions have been explained in this link “Transfer of Sponsorship without permission of Kafeel”.
10-Driving License: If you are satisfied with your job and want to continue working in Saudi Arabia, next step is to apply for the driving license. This is your first step to settle down in this beautiful country. Recommended: Procedure to Apply for Driving License in Saudi Arabia