Saudi Arabia has loosened restrictions on the sponsorship system for foreign employees, which has been criticized by human rights organizations and workers’ rights.
From today, workers in the energy, construction and hospitality sectors can move between jobs in the country without the need for a license from the sponsor.
However, human rights organizations say that these changes do not include the three and a half million domestic workers who are most vulnerable to abuse and rights violations.
Saudi Arabia hopes that these changes will make it more attractive to foreign investment.
The local media praised the easing measures in the sponsorship system, as Okaz newspaper wrote: “As of today, 6.27 million residents benefit from better work contracts in the country.”
In one of its reports, Akhbar Al Arab newspaper wrote in English: “Expatriate workers are happy with labor law reforms in Saudi Arabia.”
Al-Sharq Al-Awsat newspaper quoted the views of a number of analysts and businessmen regarding the changes that Saudi Arabia included in the sponsorship system and contracts for foreign employees.
Mahmoud Ghazi, general manager of Mercers’s Saudi branch, said the changes would “raise the efficiency of the Saudi labor market and attract foreign investors.”
As for the economic analyst, Abdul-Rahman Al-Jubeiri, he told the newspaper that the changes have many advantages, including raising competitiveness among workers in Saudi Arabia, and improving the quality of work in the country.