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It is illegal to hire a domestic worker such as a house driver in Saudi Arabia without Iqama transfer to your name. There are two ways to legally hire a domestic worker in Saudi Arabia.
- Apply for a domestic worker visa.
- Transfer the Sponsorship of a domestic worker.
Iqama transfer without employer’s permission
Article 2 of Labor Law Regulations allows Iqama transfer of a domestic worker without his employer’s approval under the following circumstances.
1- Delay in salaries for 3 months.
2- Not issuing first Iqama within 90 days of arrival.
3- Not renewing Iqama within 30 days of its expiry.
4- Not picking up the domestic worker from the airport or shelter house within 15 days of arrival.
5- Assigning an employee to work for someone else.
6- Assigning a domestic worker to a dangerous job in violation of Health and Safety standards.
7- Abusing a domestic worker.
8- Setting a domestic worker under Huroob incorrectly.
9- In case of legal dispute, if the employer does not appear in court 2 consecutive times.
10- Termination of contract by the employer within the probation period.
- Source: Saudi Gazette
In the first 3 cases, the Iqama transfer would be automatic. In the rest of the cases, the employee needs to get court approval for Iqama transfer without the employer’s consent.
Requirements for Domestic Worker Iqama Transfer
The following requirements must be met to transfer the Iqama sponsorship of a domestic worker such as a house driver or housemaid.
- The suitable profession of the new Kafeel (if expat).
- The applicant must be married to transfer the sponsorship of a housemaid.
- Minimum Salary Requirement (explained below.)
- The domestic worker Iqama must be transferable.
- Iqama Transfer Fee. Recommended: How to pay Iqama transfer fee?
If a house driver, housemaid, or any other domestic worker meets any of the 10 conditions, they can transfer their sponsorship without the consent of their Kafeel.
Request through Absher
In order to transfer a domestic worker’s sponsorship in Saudi Arabia, the following process is followed through Absher;
- The new employer will create a request to transfer.
- The employee will approve the request through Absher.
- The old employer will accept the request.
- Upon acceptance, the new employer will pay the fee.
- The new employer will visit Jawazat to get the print of the Iqama.
Approve through Absher
In order to approve the request for the transfer of Iqama sponsorship, a domestic worker needs to;
- Log in to Absher account https://www.absher.sa/
- Click on “Services” under My Services.
- Select “Passports“.
- Choose “Sponsorship Transfer Acceptance“.
On the next page,
- Click on the “View Sponsorship Transfer Requests“.
- Review the request and “Accept” or “Reject” it.
- The request must be approved within 7 days to avoid auto-rejection
Domestic Worker Iqama Transfer to Business
The transfer of sponsorship of a domestic worker from an individual to an establishment has been banned.
The transfer of sponsorship from establishments or companies to Individuals is still banned.
Error Message: Labor Service cannot be transferred from an establishment to an individual electronically through Absher.
The government of Saudi Arabia had allowed the transfer of sponsorship of a domestic worker to an establishment or company in 2020 after 7 years if the following two conditions are met. However, later the decision was reversed.
- His Iqama was renewed for not more than one year last time.
- He will have to change his profession.
Minimum Salary Requirement
One Saudi family is entitled to 5 domestic workers while expatriate families and Saudis married to expatriates are allowed to have 2 domestic workers.
- 1st Domestic Worker: Minimum salary SR 5,000 and bank balance SR 35,000.
- 2nd Domestic Worker: Minimum salary SR 18,000 and bank balance SR 120,000.
- 3rd & 4th Domestic Worker: Minimum salary SR 30,000 and bank balance SR 250,000.
- 5th Domestic Worker: Minimum bank balance SR 500,000.
Source: Arab News