23 July 2008
Calls for overseas workers' policy reform in Saudi Arabia
The Saudi Arabian Government are being urged to change their policy for migrant workers so that responsibility for workers falls into the remit of either the Government or recruitment agencies rather than the employer.
Currently, the kafala sponsorship system means migrant workers are lawfully bound to any employer who sponsors them for a Saudi Arabian working visa. International groups are now pressuring the Government to open up the immigration system by allowing recruitment companies or the government (rather than employers) to sponsor a worker, reports the International media agency.
The Saudi Arabian government has not indicated whether it will be implementing the proposed labour reforms.
The Government is currently extending its tourism industry so that the country can benefit more from the profits of tourism in terms of employment and revenue. The Prince of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia predicted that by 2020, there would be 45.3 million visitors to the country.
According to SAMRAD, the Kingdom’s information directory, the Prince aims to use public and private funds to ensure by 2020 there will be 50,000 hotel rooms, 74,000 housing units, and 1.5 to 2.3 million Saudi nationals working in the industry.
All visitors to Saudi Arabia must have a valid temporary visa which has been sponsored by a Saudi Arabian resident or registered business in the country.
The Worldwide Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in Saudi Arabia visa and immigration services.
Article by Jessica Bird, Worldwide Visa Bureau.