We noticed you're blocking ads.

Keep supporting great journalism by turning off your ad blocker.

Questions about why you are seeing this? Contact us

Font Size

- Aa +

Fri 15 Jan 2010 01:59 PM

Font Size

- Aa +

Saudi’s sponsorship system ‘is here to stay’ - minister

Govt to do whatever needed to protect the rights of employers, employees.

Saudi’s sponsorship system ‘is here to stay’ - minister
PROPER SYSTEM: The minister said that the current system must be in place for sometime in order to prevent foul play. (Getty Images)

Saudi deputy labour minister Abdul Wahid Al Humaid has ruled out the possibility of canceling the sponsorship (kafeel) system in the Kingdom, according to a report on Friday.

According to the Arab News daily the labour ministry would do whatever needed to protect the rights of both employers and employees.

“The Labour Ministry is not the only party to take a decision on the sponsorship system. Saudi citizens spend a lot of money on recruitment of foreign workers. It is not sensible to cancel the system,” Al Watan Arabic daily quoted the minister as saying in a report published on Thursday.

Al Humaid made this comment when asked about a proposal made by the National Society for Human Rights, demanding the cancellation of the system, the daily added.

The minister said that the system must be in place for sometime in order to prevent foul play until alternative solutions are found. He said he feared the cancellation would harm the interests of Saudi employers.

Al Humaid said the official unemployment rate for Saudi women stands at 27 percent and for men, 10 percent.

“We have found jobs for 142,318 Saudis in private companies last year. We were also successful in reducing the number of recruitment visas issued in 2009 by 23 percent,” he added.

Arabian Business: why we're going behind a paywall

The Grand Master 10 years ago

Mr Minister, The Kafeel System has nothing to do with Islam.. In Islam the rule is each human is born free and no one has the right to restrict, control, restraint,limit his right to move, choose, select, decide, dream, on where to work, live, travel...as long as he is not harming the society. Thank You

Hal-Luke Savas 10 years ago

Kind att: Rt.Hon.Deputy Minister for Labour, Rt.Hon Abdul Wahid Al Humaid, Sir, I beg to differ on the effectiveness and efficiency of the Kafeel/Ikamah system for foreign human resources system in Saudi Arabia. I therefore wish to express my humble opinion, after spending 26 years on-off working in Saudi Arabia and having trained well over 1000 managers, both ex-pat and Saudi nationals in three large Saudi Arabian cities. Current system restricts innovation on the part of the foreign workers, as most are controlled rather than motivated. The sole reason for such an excessive control is due to the selection process. Unfortunately, Saudi Arabian employers (with exceptions of course) can and do recruit the wrong type of staff and sometimes bring people in who learn their trade in Saudi Arabia. This is costing the Saudi industry huge amounts in unproductiveness, producing unmotivated, unhappy foreign workers, thus harming the competitiveness of the Saudi industry. On top of that, Saudi employers (a large proportion) are charging the workers for their recruitment expenses, hence the motivation is even further diluted and encourage only the desperate foreign workers who would come in under any condition!. Current system is not conducive to bring in skilled workers at the right price and at the right motivational levels. I feel there is a better alternative.. Kafeel should be the Saudi Government and not the employer. Employer should recruit workers from the Government office concerned under a well planned and thought-out standard employment contracts. For any foreign worker to be registered, they would have to prove their skills and capabilities under a test system that would be carried out in the country of origin. There would be exceptions to this system for those who are already highly academically qualified or in possession of tertiary education diplomas. Also, for those who are unskilled workers, fixed term contracts should be the norm and abuse under this system (like the terrible abuse of maids etc) would be dealt with Government office concerned with a sanction power against any unscrupulous employer (or even against unsucrupulous run-away worker) The worst option for the Saudi industry is unmotivated workers working under excessive control where lack of advanced management skills make the situation worst. The alternative would produce a skilled foreign worker who does not feel the pressure of unfair control over his life and an employer who understands that motivated foreign worker is cheaper than highly controlled unmotivated worker. So, the simple remedy is to teach employers to motivate their workers instead of exercise blind control over their lives. This alternative would also identify unscrupulous foreign worker whose sole aim is to enter Saudi Arabia somehow and then run away to become an illegal worker. I think Saudi Arabia deserves a new human resources alternative to reach higher levels of productivity in her industries. With kind regards and sincere wishes for future, Hal-Luke Savas MBA FCIM MBIFM ICIOB affCIBSE londonmanagement@aol.com

mustafa 10 years ago

Mr Minister, think if you or any of your child were under a kafeel how would you feel??????!! thanks

Ahamed 9 years ago

I agreed to "The Grand Masters" comment.
Present rule gives the sponsors all the right to squeeze the maximum money from his worker. I was a victim of free visa. More than half of my salary was been going to my kafeel. I find the job and work hard, even i was forced to give the major part of my hard earned money to my kafeel. Now i wish to go back to my country. today i ask my sponsor the passport. He was again asking me money.
To whom will we report? If the sponsor report compliant about us, then for the government that is the truth.
Please help us to whom we have to report regarding this problem. In out country the media is strong and will be known to the public.