Rights for Expatriates under Saudi Labor Law

Being an expatriate, you should know your rights given by Saudi Labor Law to avoid unfair treatment or termination by employers. In this article, we have explained all the relevant provisions of the Saudi Labor Law for expatriates.

Once my uncle was unfairly terminated, I wrote an email on his behalf giving references to different articles of Saudi Labor Law and explaining how the termination is unfair. The HR department accepted this email and took back his notice of termination and gave him another notice with fair compensation.

  1. Recruitment Expenses

We have seen many cases where employees bear the recruitment expenses which is actually the liability of the employer.

The Employer is not allowed to ask the worker to bear expenses related to recruitment, fees on issue & renewal of residence permit (Iqama) & work license, fees resulting from renewal delay, fees of sponsorship transfer for work, job title change fees and exit re-entry visas fees.

If you are a legitimate employee and employer asks for the above-mentioned expenses, you can bring him to the court. – Article 40 (1) of the Saudi Labor Law

  1. The right to Iqama

Residence permit in Saudi Arabia is called iqama. Iqama is the permit to live in Saudi Arabia and you need to keep it with you all the time. It is your right to ask for the Iqama by labor law and your employer will bear all the expenses related to this (According to Article 40.1 of Saudi Labor Law).

If your sponsor does not provide you Iqama within three months of your arrival to Saudi Arabia, you can search for another job and transfer your sponsorship without the permission of the employer.

  1. Saudi labor law for expatriate’s passport

All of us know that employers in Saudi Arabia hold the passports of their employees who are under his sponsorship. However, only a few of us know the Saudi labor law for expatriate’s passport. The act of holding passports of employees by Kafeel is illegal. I have explained it in detail in this article, “Legality of Holding Passport by Kafeel

  1. Probation Period

According to Saudi labor law, the probation period cannot exceed 3 months. If your employer asks you to extend the probation period, you should not allow it as it is against the law. We have further explained the “Rules related to Probation Period under Saudi Labor Law”, Can I request Transfer of Sponsorship within Probation Period?, Can I request Final Exit within 3 months?

  1. Right to have a Contract

It is your right to ask for a proper contract after the expiry of the probation period. If the contract is in Arabic, you can ask for a contract either written in English or in both languages.

Nowadays companies mostly use bilingual contracts for expatriate employees. Read here, Legality of Arabic / English Employment Contract

  1. Nature of Contract

It is very important for you to understand the nature of your contract as it affects your rights and duties. We have covered it in detail in this link “Fixed Term and Indefinite Contract”

  1. Rights of Employees in Absence of Contract

If your employer has not signed a contract with you, you still have some rights which are covered in this link “Rights of Employees in Absence of Contract in Saudi Arabia”

  1. Working Hours under Saudi Labor Law

Although it is not covered by the contract, Saudi Labor Law sets a maximum limit of 48 working hours in a week.

If your employer is asking you to work more than that, you are actually entitled to overtime of 1.5 times of normal time wages. Read here for further details “Working Hours and Overtime Calculation”

  1. Annual Leave and Vacations

For the detail of the vacations you are entitled to in Saudi Arabia, read our article “Vacations under Saudi Labor Law”. It is important to mention here that the right of vacation is different from the right of air ticket as per Saudi Labor Law.

  1. The right of Air Ticket

We have explained the “Right of Air Ticket as per Saudi Labor Law” in this link.

  1. Leave Encashment

At the end of the contract, the employee is also entitled to receive “Leave Encashment

  1. Saudi labor law – termination of contract and resignation

Saudi Labor Law is very clear regarding resignation and termination of a contract. An employee needs to give proper notice to his employer if he wants to leave the organization and the same goes with the employer.

Rules related to the notice period under Saudi Labor Law has been explained in this article. “Notice Period Under Saudi Labor Law“.

  1. Resigning without finishing a contract

There are some cases when an employee can resigning without finishing a contract and without rendering any notice to the employer, these cases have been explained in this link. “Resignation without Notice Period“.

If you resign in any of the circumstances explained above, it would not be treated as breaking a contract in Saudi Arabia.

  1. Termination without Notice Period

Your employer has a right to terminate you without any notice if you are involved in any activity given in this link “Termination without Notice Period under Saudi Labor Law”. 

  1. End of service – Saudi labor law

Employees are entitled to get the end of service benefits at the end of their employment term. For the detailed reading of your entitlement of End of Service Benefits, please read this “End of Service Benefits Calculation”.

If an employer does not pay for these benefits, the employee has every right to go to labor court against his employer. The maktab al amal rules or the labor court rules in Saudi Arabia are quite transparent.

  1. Fee for Transfer of Sponsorship

It is a general practice in Saudi Arabia that almost 99% of companies don’t bear full charges of Iqama transfer. They only bear the charges equivalent to the amount payable as first transfer of Iqama i.e. SR 2,000.

According to Saudi Labor Law, the Kafeel to whom an employee is transferring in will bear all the expenses of Iqama Transfer. We have published a separate article regarding it. Please read it for further details. “Responsibility of Iqama Transfer Fee

  1. Death or Disability at work site

If an employee dies or gets permanent partial or full disability on the work site, he is entitled to “Compensation for Work Injury under Saudi Labor Law” from sponsor as well as “Benefits from GOSI

  1. Relocation of Employee by Employer

As per the changes in Saudi Labor Law approved by the Ministry of Labor, an employer cannot transfer an employee to another location without written permission of the employee. Mostly, an employer pays relocation allowance in Saudi Arabia to relocate an employee. Recommended: Can an employer relocate me to another location under Saudi Labor Law? – Article 58

  1. Payment Schedule

An employer cannot change the payment schedule (monthly, weekly, daily, hourly) of the employee without having written consent of the employee.

  1. Assigning Additional Work

As per Article 38 of the Saudi Labor Law, an employer cannot assign the work to an employee in addition to what has been agreed upon between them. In the case of emergency, even if he has to assign it, it will not be more than 30 days in a year.

  1. Emergency Leave

An employee may need emergency leave for some days while working in Saudi Arabia. We have published a separate article on this topic “Rules regarding Emergency Leave in Saudi Arabia”

  1. The rule for Salary Increment

When an employee keeps on working for a longer period of time, he looks for the salary increment. We have covered it in this topic “Rule for Salary Increment in Saudi Arabia”

  1. Suspension from Work

An employer cannot suspend you from work more than a certain time period. We have covered it in this link “Suspension from Work under Saudi Labor Law”

According to article 64 of the Saudi Labor Law, at the end of the employment agreement, the employer must issue a certificate of employment (free of charge) to the employee. The certificate must not include anything that can harm the reputation of the employee. All the documents and certificates of the employee must also be returned immediately.

  1. Rights of Women

Saudi Labor Law gives extra rights to the women working in Saudi Arabia and we have covered it in this link “Rights of Women under Saudi Labor Law

Average Salary by Profession in Saudi Arabia: Asking for a package or accepting a job offer can be dodging for you if you don’t know about the average salary of your profession in Saudi Arabia, I have published an article regarding this from which you can take guidance about the package to ask for. “Average Salary by Profession in Saudi Arabia

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Steve has been living in Saudi Arabia since 2013 and writing about Saudi rules, regulations, guides, and procedures since then.