Being an ex-pat working in Saudi Arabia can be a challenging task sometimes due to the technicalities involved. Iqama or the work permit is an indispensable part of work in Saudi Arabia, and so 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 the ways in which 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.
What Conditions Allow the Iqama Transfer Without the Sponsor’s (Kafeel’s) Consent?
The transfer of iqama for employees without the consent of their kafeel or employer is either auto transfer or court-approved. The conditions that allow for this unique setting are given below.
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Auto-Transfer of Sponsorship:
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 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 of arrival for the employee. If, after this time, the kafeel does not provide you with an iqama or transfer, you can apply for it yourself.
3. Your iqama or labor card expires. As per Saudi laws, you can apply for an auto-transfer of sponsorship after three days of your iqama or labor card expiry.
4. Your employer is not paying you a recommended salary. Under the wage protection system of the Kingdom, you can transfer your sponsorship from your current kafeel; especially, if they have not paid you salaries in 3 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:
Some cases would need a court ruling before sponsorship can officially transfer. These include:
1. End of employment contract: As soon as your contract with a commercial body ends, you can apply for a transfer via court laws.
2. If you discover a Tasattur or an illegal coverup in the organization you work at, you are eligible for a court-ordered transfer of sponsorship. Make sure you know your rights, so you are not manipulated into breaking the laws.
3. If the court passes a judgment in favor of the ex-pat for whatever reason. 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, given the following conditions.
- 12 months have passed since you came into the Kingdom
- The contract is terminated as of Article 77
- You apply a three months notice to transfer your job
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What is The Procedure to Transfer Sponsorship Without the Employer’s Permission?
The process to apply for a transfer of iqama from a current or previous employer is quite simple. You will not need the permission of your employer.
That is to say, if you fall within the first four categories, you can opt for an auto transfer. To make things easy, we have outlined the method here for you. Let’s get to it.
- A new kafeel will put in a transfer of employee requests through the QIWA platform.
- The Ministry of Labor will accept the request within 24 hours. It will not need approval from the previous employer.
- You can check your application status in the Ministry of Labor (MOL) application.
- As soon as the MOL accepts your application, pay the iqama sponsorship transfer fee. This fee depends upon the transfer and usually is between SR 2000 to SR 6000.
- Some kafeels or employers may ask you to cover half of the cost of this process. But bear in mind that the entirety of the fee is covered by the employer themselves under Saudi law.
- Monitor your iqama status in the Absher application. Once your new employer appears on it, your application is through. After that, you can visit the Jawazat office to print your new iqama.
This procedure is wholly online and hence, sometimes may show errors. If something like that occurs, our new kafeel will need to visit the Jawazat office and carry out this process manually.
How Can I Transfer An Iqama With a Court Ruling?
If your case falls under the second category or the last four conditions, a court ruling in your favor will decide the rest.
You can transfer your sponsorship to another employer without prior approval from your previous kafeel. The process is pretty similar to an auto-transfer and relatively easy.
- The new kafeel will visit the labor office with all necessary and valid documents
- The Maktab Amal officer reviews the case and all the records in addition to the court ruling, meticulously
- Once satisfied, the officer will transfer the iqama sponsorship of the employee in the MOL system
- You can monitor the status of the application in the MOL database
- You have to pay an iqama sponsorship transfer fee. As highlighted above, the new employer covers this cost
- Once your iqama is approved and ready, you can visit any Jawazat center and get a print of it
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What Documents Do I Need for a Transfer of Iqama Sponsorship?
The documents you have to offer will build your case if you want a transfer of sponsorship. Of course, this would be without a previous employer’s consent.
The following documents are crucial and should be at hand and ready.
- Iqama of ex-pat employee
- Passport copy of ex-pat employee
- The court ruling or decision for the employee
- A request letter from the new kafeel or employer. This letter needs attestation from the chamber of commerce and should carry a valid reason for the transfer of sponsorship.
- Some of the most typical causes are discussed above.
Can Domestic Workers in KSA Transfer Iqama Without a Kafeel’s Permission?
KSA prides itself in smart and unconventional labor safety laws. If you are a domestic worker, you deserve the right to transfer an iqama without your kafeel’s permission.
Here are ten of the most common reasons a domestic help may leave particular employment. That too, without violating the law and transferring the iqama:
- The employer fails to pay them for more than three months
- If the employer does not pick up the employee on their first arrival from the airport
- After one month of iqama expiry
- A hoax huroob case registered by the employer
- If the employee fears for his life or the work is a threat to his safety
- Physical harassment or mistreatment by the employer towards the domestic help
- If a domestic employee is rented out to another person without the help’s consent
- The employer fails to attend the legal proceedings of the employee two times in a row
- The MOL thinks it is appropriate and legitimate
- The employer has disappeared, leaving the domestic help hanging unsure and without pay
To Wrap Up
The employer-employee relationship is a very delicate business and should be handled as such. Both parties need to keep up their part of the deal for the dynamic to work smoothly.
The process to transfer an iqama without the knowledge or consent of the kafeel is not the most ideal. But under such circumstances, there is no other choice.