Foreign workers can now issue their exit and reentry visa and final exit visa themselves through the Ministry of Interior's Absher portal. This move is on a trial basis.
The General Directorate of Passports (Jawazat) has made arrangements in this regard and that is in partnership with the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development.
This is part of the Saudi government's initiatives to improve the contractual relations between employers and employees in the Kingdom's private sector with the aim of empowering and developing human competencies and further improving the work environment.
Earlier, the authority to issue exit and reentry visa and final exit visa had been restricted to the employer.
The landmark Labor Reform Initiative (LRI) that came into force on March 14 gives a major fillip to improving considerably the contractual relations between employers and employees.
There are also several features that benefit the parties involved in the employment market in the Kingdom as stipulated in the user guide for the Improvement of the Contractual Relationship Initiative released by the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development.
Jawazat clarified that the foreign worker must submit a visa application request; after which he needs to wait for 10 days. After the completion of the 10th day; the worker will have a five-day period from the 11th day onwards to get the visa before the expiry of the validity of the visa application.
In the event of the employer submits an objection against the worker's request; it will be studied and a decision will be taken by the Ministry of Human Resources; within a maximum period of 10 days; calculated from the date of submitting the visa application; and not from the date of submitting the objection, the Jawazat also said.
Absher also cited the following five conditions that people need to adhere to benefit from the service in general. The employer and the worker should not be in one of the situations of the deceased; absconding and recruitment violation; payment of all traffic offenses against the worker; the absence of a valid visa for the worker; the presence of the worker within the Kingdom at the time of submitting the application; and the validity of the residency permit (iqama) as well as passport of the worker.
There should be at least three months' validity of iqama; the exit and reentry visa period does not exceed 30 days; approval of the personal undertaking by the worker with regard to availing of the service; payment of visa fee by the worker; and a personal undertaking that stipulates that the worker shall bear the responsibility for breaching the contractual relationship; in the event of his failure of coming back to the Kingdom before the expiry of the specified period.
It is noteworthy that the new labor reform initiative also revamped the 70-year old sponsorship system. The new services under the initiative will be available through the Absher and Qiwa online platforms. It applies to all expatriate workers in the private sector except those in the five categories; private driver, home guard, domestic worker, shepherd, as well as gardener or farmer.