Wednesday 1st June 2011

Labor Minister Adel Fakeih provided further information about the planned Nitaqat policy yesterday in a bid to allay expatriate fears about the 6-year visa limitation issue.

Talking to the Arab News, Adel Fakeih revealed that companies in the Kingdom who utilize expatriate resource would have until the 7th September 2011 to recruit a sufficient quota of Saudi employees within their business organization. Only after this date with the Nitaqat policy be officially enforced.

The Nitaqat Policy Classification System

The following rules will apply to companies under the planned Nitaqat system:

Platinum: Companies that are deemed to have an exceptional record in employing Saudi nationals. Foreign workers that are employed within these companies will be able to renew their visas as required and will not be subject to the 6-year visa limitation. Companies classified as platinum will also be permitted to recruit foreign workers from companies that are within the yellow or green categories, without attaining permission from those companies via a no-objective certificate.

Green: Complying companies. Foreign workers that are employed within these companies will be able to renew their visas as required and will not be subject to the 6-year visa limitation. Companies classified as green will also be permitted to recruit foreign workers from companies that are within the yellow or green categories, without attaining permission from those companies via a no-objective certificate.

Yellow: Companies that have not yet reached required levels of Saudization. A six-year visa limitation will apply to foreign workers that are employed by companies within this classification. However, companies in the green or platinum categories, i.e. those that do not have a six-year cap on foreign workers, can recruit impacted employees and a no-objective certificate will not be required.

Red: Companies that are deemed to have completely contravened Saudization rules. Foreign workers employed within these organizations will not be permitted to renew their work visas at all. However, as with the yellow category of companies, companies in the green or platinum categories can recruit impacted employees, i.e. those that do not have a cap on foreign workers and a no-objective certificate will not be required.

Speaking to Arab news, Labor Minister Adel Fakeih, stated that he believed that foreign workers that were currently employed within red category companies should be able to find work within the green category companies: “Nearly 50 percent can be absorbed by the green-category companies,” he said.

At present, the specific rules that will be applied towards determining how companies will be categorized do not seem to be available.

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