Saudia Arabia announced to ease the key restrictions on the foreign workers that are in millions and serving the country Saudi Arabia under the reforms to its labour policies that are blamed as for exploitation and widespread abuses. This is perhaps an immoral act of human rights as highlighted by Human right groups that have repeatedly called on the kingdom to abolish the “Kafala” sponsorship system.
Kafala Sponsorship system is branded by the critics as a modern form for the slavery that restricts or bins the workers to their Saudi employers. The social development ministry and the human resources Saudi Arabia said that from 14th March the expatriated would no longer need the employer’s authorization either for changing the job, travelling, or leaving the premises of Saudi Arabia. The workers will have the autonomy to move or travel. This is new hope for around ten million foreigners.
As per the statement of the official Saudi Press Agency, this initiative is taken as a planned action to improve and increase the effectiveness and efficiency of the work environment. It is anticipated to have a huge positive impact on the Saudi labour market and on the lives of foreign blue-collar workers who lack effective resources against the exploitative employers and overcrowded housing.
The conditions are not applied to the local domestic workers as these are for foreign workers, and the foreign criminals will also be deported to their countries. These restrictions are eliminated to make the work productive and more dynamic. The rights of the foreign workers will be given as the kafala system will be prevented soon.
The exclusion of migrant like the domestic workers from the reforms was also problematic as given that many are forced to work excessive hours continuously without rest, and denied their wages and even subjected to the physical and sexual abuse as per the Human Right Watch (HRW).
After the disruption of coronavirus pandemic, campaigners say that potentially hundreds of thousands of “illegal” workers who have become undocumented for no fault of their own will remain stranded in Saudi Arabia. The good days for Saudi foreign workers are about to get started due to the new conditions sets for easing the restrictions.