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Saudi Arabia Just Removed the Kafala System on Migrant Laborers

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The Kingdom just announced today that it will abolish some of its key restrictions on migrant workers as it reforms the ‘Kafala’ policy.

The Ministry of Human Resource and Social Development announced that foreign workers will now be allowed to change jobs and transfer their sponsorship from one employer to another. They will also be able to re-enter the country and secure final exit visas without the need for a consent from their employer.

Deputy Minister Abdullah bin Nasser Abuthnain said the new “Labor Relation Initiative” is expected to come into effect in March 2021, which will affect about a third of Saudi Arabia’s total population, or approximately 10 million foreign workers in the kingdom.

“These changes are not small changes – it’s huge,” Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development, Sattam Alharb said, explaining the government had worked on the overhaul for two years. “We aim to achieve more inclusion for Saudis, attract talent, improve the working conditions, make Saudi Arabia’s labour market more dynamic and productive.”

“Reducing labour market rigidities will likely prove useful as the economy recovers from the dual shock of low oil prices and Covid-19,” said Carla Slim, an economist at Standard Chartered Bank.

The new policies will make the Kingdom more attractive to private employers who would rather hire foreigners over whom they currently have greater control, Alharbi added.

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The Kingdom to Provide Covid-19 Vaccine For Free to All Citizens and Residents

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The Saudi Health Ministry announced last night that the Kingdom will provide citizens and residents with the Covid-19 vaccine for free, a senior official told Saudi Al Ekhbariya TV.

The ministry hopes that these vaccines will cover 70% of the Kingdom’s population by the end of next year.

Dr Abdullah Asiri, assistant undersecretary at the ministry, said that the Kingdom is to obtain vaccines through Covax and companies outside of the consortium.

“The Kingdom worked on two paths to obtain the vaccine, through the COVAX organisation, which the G20 had a role in creating and financing…Saudi Arabia will obtain a large number of vaccines through this facility, while the second track is directly contracting with the big companies to cover the gap that cannot be covered through COVAX,” Arab News mentioned Asiri as saying.

“One of the most important goals set by the G20 during Saudi Arabia’s G20 presidency is to support all-inclusive and equitable access to vaccines, diagnostic and treatment tools,” he added.

Dr Al Rabeeah said Saudi Arabia had spent so far more than $200 million on vaccine and developing a drug for the virus.

The promising news is that so far, three vaccines from Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca have been found to be at least 70% effective.

 

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G-20 Leaders Close Riyadh Summit and World Leaders Discuss Efforts in Facing the Pandemic

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The G20 Leaders’ Summit was presented virtually this year due to the pandemic and was hosted by Saudi Arabia with the participation of the world’s leaders.

The two-day conference ended on Sunday, its organizers hailed it as a success. Following this success, the Kingdom handed over G20 presidency to Italy as Riyadh summit concluded.

The two-day summit, the 15th meeting of the forum, has allowed leaders of economies to come together and discuss the most challenging socioeconomic issues, including finding a response to the pandemic and its challenges.

“We underscore the urgent need to bring the spread of the virus under control,” the leaders of the G-20 nations said in the communique.

“We have seen very clear signs but also actions by the G-20 supporting multilateralism,” Mohammed al-Jadaan, Saudi Arabia’s finance minister, said during a news conference at the summit’s conclusion.

“We hope that Italy will crystallize this idea with the aim of supporting joint international coordination and intensifying the role, to come up with policies and initiatives to meet any challenges and determine the economic and well-being of our peoples,” the crown prince said.

The crown prince stressed on the importance of cooperation in standing against the outbreak of COVID-19, and its health, economic, and social repercussions.

The G20 leaders also promised to “spare no effort” to ensure the fair distribution of COVID-19 vaccines and medicines worldwide.

“We are taking immediate and exceptional measures to address the COVID-19 pandemic and its intertwined health, social and economic impacts, including through the implementation of unprecedented fiscal, monetary and financial stability actions,” the statement said.

 

 

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The Kingdom Approves 48-hour and 96-hour Transit Visit Visas

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In another attempt to introduce the beauty of the Kingdom to the world, Saudi Arabia has approved the issuance of transit visas for a validity period of 48 hours (two day) and 96 hours (4-day), at the cost of SR100 and SR300 respectively.

The Council of Ministers has decided to amend a paragraph of the Schedule of Visit, Hajj and Transit Visas by land, sea or air in this regard, according to a report published by the official Umm Al-Qura newspaper on its website.

This decision comes in light of the Kingdom’s efforts in improving the regulations of entry visas to Saudi Arabia and allowing more foreign visitors to the Kingdom.

The Council of Ministers has approved the amendment of Paragraph 3 of the Schedule for the Structure of Visit, Hajj and Transit Visas in the following manner.

• Transit visa for visit by air, sea, or land, with a validity of 96 hours, and the duration of stay is 96 hours for a fee of SR300.

• Transit visa for visit by air, sea, or land, with a validity of 48 hours, and the period of stay is 48 hours, with a fee of SR100.

 

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