Ministry of Labor halts Changing Iqama Profession of Expats

The Arabic newspaper Al-Madina reported on Tuesday that the Ministry of Labor and Social Development has halted changing the job professions of Iqama.  As we all know that Iqama is a type of identity document that is issued to a foreign national as a permission to live and work in Saudi Arabia.

Many Expatriates are not satisfied because of their job professions stated on their Iqama and they wished to change their iqama profession. As we all know that no matter what your actual profession is, you will be treated in Saudi Arabia as the profession written on your iqama.[irp]

I once read a person who was working as an assistant engineer in a private construction company of Saudi Arabia, the iqama profession mentioned on his Iqama was Labor. He wished to change his title by showing his attested diplomas. Similarly, many expatriates are unsatisfied with their Iqama profession.

At the moment, Ministry of Labor has stopped changing iqama professions for expatriates in Saudi Arabia. Many expatriates who came to Saudi Arabia on a different visa with an intention to change it, later on, are in trouble as their current profession is not in the List of Professions eligible for Family Visas in Saudi Arabia.

The ministry said those who are not allowed to change their Iqama profession can challenge the decision electronically. Furthermore, the ministry said, Inspection tours will be undertaken and each violator will be fined the amount of SR25,000.

It is important to mention here that the process to change the iqama profession has been halted, it has not been stopped. We can expect that soon the Ministry will start the process of changing iqama professions again.

The decision has been taken to stop the practice where employers bring highly skilled staff on a labor profession and later on change their profession. When Ministry issues a visa for a particular profession, the employer is entitled to bring an expatriate who can work in that profession only.

The Ministry will stop compensatory work visas after changing the ratio and modality of counting the Saudization rates in Nitaqat system (a law to provide better employment opportunities to Saudi Nationals ahead of Foreign Expatriates).

The Ministry said the Saudi’s who are above 60 years of age can apply for a job in private sectors but they will not be considered while counting the rates of Saudization. Saudization is a policy in which foreign Workers are replaced with Saudi National in private sectors.

Recently in an analysis, it was said that there are most numbers of Expatriates working in Saudi Arabia and a large number of Saudi Nationals are unemployed but now The Saudi Government has taken the decision to reduce unemployment among Native Saudi’s.

Source: Saudi Gazette