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Transfer of Your Iqama Without Kafeel’s Permission in Saudi Arabia

Jawazat & MOITransfer of Your Iqama Without Kafeel’s Permission in Saudi Arabia

Being an expat working in Saudi Arabia can sometimes be challenging due to the technicalities involved. Iqama, or the work permit, is an indispensable part of work in Saudi Arabia, as is the unique sponsorship (kafeel) involved.

This can be tough for someone new to this work model. Hence, in this article, we have compiled some of how you can transfer your Iqama. 

You can do this without the consent of your sponsor (Kafeel) or employer as long you fulfill your work contract.

There are two cases where an expat can transfer their Iqama without Kafeel’s consent: auto-transfer or via court approval. Both are valid under certain conditions.

You may also like to read about Digital Iqama: All You Need To Know. 

Auto-Transfer of Sponsorship:

In specific cases, one’s Iqama will automatically be eligible to be transferred to a different sponsorship. This usually happens when the Kafeel fails to fulfill their end of the contract. Some cases are described below:

1. The kafeel falls in the Red Nitaqat category

A red nitaqat kafeel is an employer who cannot arrange visas for new foreign employees. Red nitaqat kafeels also fail to provide transfer of Iqama from other sponsors.

Under these circumstances, the employee can transfer Iqama without the permission or consent of his kafeel since the sponsor cannot do it themselves.

2. The kafeel fails to provide the Iqama.

The cut-off time frame for this is three months after the employee arrives.

If the kafeel does not provide you with an iqama or transfer after this time, you can apply for it yourself.

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3. Your Iqama or labor card expires.

As per Saudi laws, you can apply for an auto-transfer of sponsorship three days after your Iqama or labor card expires.

Under the Kingdom’s wage protection system, you can transfer your sponsorship from your current kafeel, especially if they have not paid you salaries in three months.

Moreover, this will allow you to explore more options and perhaps find a new employer that better fits your needs. 

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Court-Approved Transfer of Sponsorship:

Of all the cases mentioned above, the expat automatically becomes eligible to transfer their Iqama. But some cases, such as those we’re saying now, might require the expat to have their application approved. These approvals usually happen in court, and there is a different application process.

1. End of employment contract:

You can apply for a transfer via court laws once your contract with a commercial body ends.

2. If you discover a Tasattur or an illegal coverup in your organization:

You are eligible for a court-ordered transfer of sponsorship. Ensure you know your rights so you are not manipulated into breaking the law. 

3. If the court passes a judgment in favor of the expat

This can also occur if you have spent 12 months with your current employer and are ready to move to another job. By law, your employer cannot hold you back under the circumstances.   

4. Before you complete your contract with an employer, give the following conditions.

  • 12 months have passed since you came into the Kingdom.
  • The contract is terminated as of Article 77.
  • You apply for a three-month notice to transfer your job.