Saudi Arabia to End the Kafala System For Overseas Workers Soon: Report

Saudi Arabia is mulling over a new contract system directly between the employer and the employee, which will replace the old sponsorship or kafala system.

Arabic financial newspaper ‘Maal’ reported this news on Tuesday.

According to the Arabic newspaper, the Saudi authorities have finally decided to abolish the decades-old kafala system that binds a migrant worker to one employer.

The Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development intends to announce a new initiative that improves the contractual relationship between employers and expatriate workers next week.


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The rights groups have criticized the kafala system as it increases the chances of workers’ exploitation.

The new contract system under consideration will limit the relationship between the employer and the worker to the employment contract that spells out both the parties’ rights and duties. The old sponsorship law will be repealed to pave the way for the new initiative, the newspaper added.


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The abolition of sponsorship law will allow expats’ freedom to get their entry, exit, and final exit visas stamped on their own and taking/switching employment at their will without the need of the sponsor’s (kafeel) approval. Moreover, the migrant works will also enjoy the freedom of movement according to the employment agreement.

According to the report, the initiative will come into effect in the first half of 2021.

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