How to transfer Iqama sponsorship in Saudi Arabia?

In order to transfer Iqama sponsorship (نقل كفاله) in Saudi Arabia, expatriates have to go through a lengthy procedure. If an expatriate is found working for another employer other than his Kafeel, he will be deported to his home country.

It is worth mentioning that as per Article 39 of Saudi Labor Law, an expatriate employee is not allowed to work for anyone other than his Kafeel or sponsor.

Do you have a transferable Iqama?

First of all, you need to check if your Iqama is transferable. Although there are many variables involved, an iqama is transferable if your employer has agreed to transfer your sponsorship. Recommended: How to know if Iqama is transferable?

sponsorship transferable Iqama

Search for a Job in Saudi Arabia

Keep in mind that you have a competitive advantage upon others for having a transferable Iqama in job hunting. Employers prefer those who can transfer their sponsorship as arranging a new visa is quite difficult.

Search for a Job in Saudi Arabia

Can your new employer transfer your Iqama?

Before accepting the job offer, you need to check if your new employer can transfer your sponsorship in Saudi Arabia. The new sponsor needs to meet all of the following conditions to accept the transfer;

  1. All employees should have a valid Iqama.
  2. There is no employee who hasn't received Iqama within 3 months of arrival to Saudi Arabia.
  3. Salaries are paid on time through the Wage Protection System.
  4. The Nitaqat category of the employer must be Green. Recommended: Check Nitaqat Category of Kafeel
  5. The citizens of some countries are not allowed to transfer their sponsorship e.g. Thailand.

Can your new employer transfer your Iqama sponsorship?

Resign from the Job

After checking all this, you need to confirm again that your current employer is willing to transfer your sponsorship. Many companies do not allow the Iqama transfer of employees to their competitors.

After the confirmation, resign from your job with an appropriate notice period. Recommended: What is the Notice period under Saudi Labor Law?

Resign from the Job

Online Iqama transfer process

Create a Request for Iqama transfer

When your notice period is about to complete, your new employer will create a request to transfer the sponsorship through the Ministry of Labor account. Your new employer only needs a copy of your Iqama to create the request.

Accepting the Request in the system

You can ask your new employer to accept the Iqama transfer request in the MOL system. Once the request is accepted, your Iqama sponsorship is transferred to the new employer in the Labor System. 

Once the request is accepted, you can check the status of the transfer of sponsorship through this link.

It is worth mentioning that if an expatriate employee meets any of the 6 conditions announced by the Ministry of Labor, he can transfer Iqama sponsorship transfer without Kafeel's approval.

Get the print of the new Iqama

  • Now pay the fee to transfer Iqama sponsorship to complete the process in Jawazat. Keep in mind that as per Article 40 of Saudi Labor Law, the employer is responsible to pay the fee.
  • Once the transfer of sponsorship is complete, you can check the new of your new Kafeel in Absher.
  • Once it is done, you can visit any Jawazat office to get the print of your new Iqama.

last step of transfer of iqama sponsorship procedure.

Cancellation of Request

There is a possibility that your prospective employer has created a request to transfer Iqama sponsorship (naqal kafala) which you want to cancel now. As per iqama transfer rules, there are two possible ways of doing so;

  • You can leave the request as it is and request your current sponsor not to accept it. It will automatically be canceled after 90 days of the request creation.
  • You can ask your prospective employer to withdraw the نقل كفاله request from the system which would result in immediate cancelation of the request.

It is important to mention here that you would not be able to ask another employer to create a request for the transfer of sponsorship in the system if your current request is valid.

Manual Process to transfer sponsorship

In case you want to transfer your sponsorship to an individual who does not have the MOL account, you will have to follow the manual process of Iqama transfer.

  • Request a Demand Letter from your new employer. (Sample Letter)
  • Request two letters from your current employer addressing to the Labor Office and Jawazat. (Sample Letters)
  • The new employer will visit the labor office and Jawazat along with the above-mentioned letter to complete the process of Iqama transfer.

Iqama transfer under Huroob

As per iqama transfer rules, it is banned to transfer the sponsorship of an employee whose status has been set as Huroob. However, if your current employer is in the Red nitaqat category, your new employer can do it by visiting the Labor Office.

Iqama transfer of Domestic Workers

The transfer of sponsorship of a domestic worker from an individual to an establishment has been banned.

The government of Saudi Arabia had allowed the transfer of sponsorship of a domestic worker to establishment or companies in 2020 after 7 years if the following two conditions are met;

  1. His Iqama was renewed for not more than one year last time.
  2. He will have to change his profession.

The transfer of sponsorship from establishment or companies to Individuals is still banned.

For the latest updates, you can join our WhatsApp group.

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