Government Initiatives to Enhance Labor Market
Saudi Arabia is launching government-backed initiatives to face the repercussions of the outbreak of coronavirus in the labor sector. The Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development has taken a number of decisions and preventive measures aimed at alleviating the burdens of the private sector and keeping its employees safe during the current phase and supporting its growth and helping them overcome this difficulty. Among these decisions are:
Exemption from the financial fee imposed on expatriates whose residence permits ended from the date hereof until 30 June 2020, and extension of their residence permits for a period of three months;
The possibility of recovering issued work visa fees that were not utilized during the period of the prohibition of the entry to and exit from the Kingdom or extending for a period of three months until they were sealed in the passport;
The Human Resources Development Fund (Hadaf) allocates SR 5.3 billion to support private sector enterprises to recruit and train Saudis;
Exceptions for Unemployment Insurance (SANED) on Saudis working in the Private Sector. This will enable to apply for compensation request to the General Organization for Social Insurance (GOSI) for the Saudi employees, at 60% of the registered wage in (GOSI) for a duration of 3 months, at a maximum of SR9000 monthly, with a total value of SR9 billion;
The Social Development Bank launched SR 12 billion support initiative in support of citizens, families and startups and small enterprises in facing the economic effects of Coronavirus;
Lifting the suspension of wages protection during the current period;
Temporary lifting the suspension from private sector facilities to correct the activity;
Lifting the suspension due to non-payment of fines collected;
Calculating the employment of "Saudis" in Nitaqat immediately for all establishments;
Services offered in the electronic platforms around the clock, include an interactive guide for entrepreneurs and a number of viable solutions, as well as applications for managing, developing and operating small and medium enterprises, and providing enterprises and entrepreneurs with data and information to help them make important decisions for their businesses;
Ceasing the fines related to labor recruitment;
The Ministry’s Ajeer hiring portal will allow private companies to transfer their foreign workers without restrictions, which would give them the opportunity to benefit from the available workforce.
The Ministry stated that these initiatives and decisions would continue to be in force until the coronavirus crisis disappears. It further stressed that this is meant to support the efforts of the Kingdom’s government to prevent the entry of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) into the country and control its spread, in collaboration with government action by all authorities to confront the economic impacts of the “corona” crisis.
How can we assist?
Khalil Khazindar Law Firm has extensive experience in labor law in advising employers or employees in Saudi Arabia. Should you have any queries on how the new regulations and initiatives affect you (as an employer or an employee), we would be happy to provide you with more detailed advice. We can be reached at our email firstname.lastname@example.org.