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Saudi Arabia Reforms Kafala Labor System
An Indian foreign "guest worker" stands on the Saudi Aramco offshore oil rig "Marjan 2" in the Persian Gulf, March 2003. (Reza/Getty Images)

Saudi Arabia Reforms Kafala Labor System

Foreign workers in Saudi Arabia will now be able to freely enter and exit the country and switch jobs without their employers’ permission under a reform of the country’s Kafala labor sponsorship system. The reforms went into effect on Sunday.

Previously, laborers were tied to a single employer, who had sole control over his or her work status. This made it easier for employers to abuse their employees, including by making them work extra-long hours or withholding pay.

Saudi Arabia’s government announced in November that it was working to reform the kafala system. Under the reforms, workers will be able to switch employers at the end of their contracts without the need for the employer’s permission, and will be able to travel outside of the country by sending the employer an online notification, but no need to ask for permission.

Kafala also is practiced in Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates.

Give the Gift of Truth This Jewish New Year

The Media Line has been leading for more than twenty years in pioneering the American independent news agency in the Middle East, arguably the first in the region. We have always stayed true to our mission: to provide you with contextual sourced and trustworthy news. In an age of fake news masquerading as journalism, The Media Line plays a crucial role in providing fact-based news that deserves your support.

We're proud of the dozens of young students we've trained in our Press and Policy Student Program who will form the vanguard of the next generation of journalists to the benefit of countless millions of news readers.

Non-profit news needs public support. please help us with your generous contributions.
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