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Saudi Arabia set to abolish ‘kafala’ sponsorship system

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is set to abolish the decades old and controversial sponsorship or kafala system next year.

The decision is set to take effect on the first half of the next year. Saudi Gazette reports that more than one million expatriates are expected to benefit from the move.

The historic move is aimed to improve the relationship between foreign workers and their employers.

The Saudi Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development is expected to make the official announcement this week.

The ‘sponsorship’ system ties the employee’s visa status to their employers, making it subject or prone to abuse on the part of the employer.

This is also part of the Kingdom’s Vision 2020 to improve the lives of expats.

Should the initiative pushes through, this will give foreign workers the chance to get re-entry visas without the need for an sponsor.

Saudi Arabia was set to announce the abolition of the kafala system early this year, but was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The decision was first approved by the Saudi Cabinet last year.

Staff Report

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