By Abdullah Al Alami
May 4, 2012
It has been almost two weeks since my article “Nitaqat is the name of the game” was published in Arab News and I’m still receiving e-mails from readers regarding the issue.
Most of the e-mails requested specific answers regarding their desire to transfer from one company to another. I also received questions regarding the procedure, formalities, eligibility details, documentation required, and criterion to get family visas. There were questions pertaining to the possibility of checking the Nitaqat status of employer. I will not attempt to answer all questions as I am neither a lawyer nor an expert in the Saudi Labor Law.
In one case, a reader whose company status is yellow and his Iqama has already expired, wants to know how to transfer to another green company while his current employer won’t release his papers. Another reader said he has been in the Kingdom for almost 18 months and he wants to transfer to a new “Kafeel” who is in green after completion of two years. His current employer is in the red zone.
Many of the questions also pertain to the rule of not keeping passports with sponsors. Well, the Council of Ministers has now allowed expatriates to keep their passports.
Some questions have one common concern; how can I transfer from my current company without asking for a transfer letter from my Kafeel? Other readers showed concerns that the National Human Rights Society may not take their case seriously.
One e-mail was very interesting. “I have completed nine and a half years with a “yellow” company and have gotten an offer from a “green” company. If I transfer without the consent of my company then how can I get my passport, how can I get my end of service, and is there any law that protects my rights as the current employer wants to give me final exit if I don’t agree to work with them on their conditions? What is interesting about this e-mail is that the reader claimed he had transferred to his current employer more than nine years ago, from the same company who is now offering him a better job.
In another case, when an employee says his company is in red and his employer would not renew his Iqama until such time the company moves out of the red zone, obviously this employee is no longer eager to remain employed there.
Another e-mail came from an electrical engineer in a company under SAGIA (Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority). He claims he had completed two years in this company but that his Iqama expired four months ago and his company was unable to renew it. Accordingly, his family is unable to visit their home country.
For specific answers, I suggest that people who have questions to contact the Labor Office, or the National Human Rights Society.
Tweet: All the grains of rice that are in the soup have been matured by the sweat of the laborer. — Chinese proverb