Saudi Cabinet has approved the Iqama issuance, work permit issuance, work permit renewal, and Iqama renewal on a quarterly basis for a minimum of 3 months.
It means that the employer has the option to renew the Iqama either on a quarterly basis or on an annual basis as per the currently implemented system.
The payment of the dependent fee and the Maktab Amal fee will be made according to the Iqama renewal period.
However, the current decision of quarterly iqama renewal is not applicable to domestic workers.
Is it good or bad for Expats?
I believe that the decision for the quarterly iqama renewal in Saudi Arabia is very good for both employers and expats for the following reasons;
- The quarterly renewal of Iqama is optional, not mandatory. Therefore, if you are not comfortable with it, you can continue with the current system.
- The quarterly renewal of Iqama allows expats to pay for the dependent fee on a quarterly basis rather than for the full year. The dependent fee is SR 400/month/dependent.
- The employer has the option to pay for the Maktab Amal fee on a quarterly basis.
- Sometimes employers renew the Iqama of employees and when the employee resigns, they ask to pay off the Iqama renewal fee paid by employees. With the option to quarterly renew Iqama, the employee can request to renew it only for 3 months if he is planning to resign.
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Domestic Workers not Included
However, domestic workers such as maids, house drivers and similar category employees were not included in the change.
Currently issuance of Iqama and renewal costing 9850 riyals that include labor ministry fee but excluding insurance. The entire amount is being paid in one go for an annum irrespective of less duration.
Several Indian families who want to send their families back after annual academic examinations were relieved with the news.
This is part of reforms initiated by the Saudi Ministry of Human Resources and Social development to enhance competitive and healthy employment environment in the country where seven decades-old current Kafala system regulates the affairs.
The mandatory contractual relationship between the employee and the employer and exit and re-entry visas without the consent of the sponsor are other salient features of new labor reforms that are set to take effect in March 2021.