What is Kafala (Sponsorship) System in Saudi Arabia?

kafala kafeel system

If you want to come to Saudi Arabia and want to live or work here you must first understand Kafala (Kafeel) or Sponsorship system of Saudi Arabia. Whenever you come here in Saudi Arabia you must have a Sponsor here. Sponsor is a individual person, small group, organization or a company. Many things you can not do without  permission from your sponsor such as leaving a country permanent/temporary, buy a car on lease, rent a home, opening new bank account, borrow loan from bank and many other things. Legal requirement and laws are not constant and every expatriate must have to update himself from any type of new laws for kafala system.
Those who violate kafala system can face many legal restriction.

Going to Saudi Arabia

Working in Saudi Arabia without any sponsor is not possible. According to Human right watch an employer assumes responsibility for a hired migrant worker and must grant explicit permission before the worker can enter Saudi Arabia, transfer employment, or leave the country. Their is some other ways from which you can enter in Saudi Arabia without Kafeel but they are not legal so we are not discussing them here.

Procedure of Entering in Saudi Arabia:

Companies and firms hire you from your native countries and send visa to agents authorized by you. You must have to pass your medical test form recognized lab in you native country and give this report to your agent.
Here is the list of medical test for Saudi Visa.
Agent give you a slip of medical test which you can use to appear in medical test. In your passport 3 months probation period is written it is a time in which you can complete your resident permit (iqama). It is a resposibility of your kafeel(sponsor) to make you iqama within three month, if it lates than, you have right to transfer the sponsorship and you can change your job.

Iqama in Saudi Arabia or Resident Permit

Not confuse with iqama it is a Resident permit, every expatriate must have iqama. At beginning you can live in Saudi Arabia without Iqama for 3 months after that you would be treated as illegal. Legal system says that you sponsor must organize iqama in less than 3 months. You can be given iqama if your sponsor is staisfied from you and you surrender you passport to him. Without iqama it is not good to travel around other city without valid passport or visa.

Getting Exit Re Entry Visa 

According to Saudi Labor law minimum 21 days leave is given to each employee or labor. If you have completed five year with one sponsor the number of leaves will be increased to 30 days. Kafeel is also responsible for ticketing expenses to you native country. Only exit re-entry visa will cost you 200 SR from your sponsor. Families can also get exit re entry visa for maximum 6 months.

Family Sponsor is Saudi Arabia

Your sponsor is your employer and you can be a sponsor of your family members. Your family member include your wife children and parents. They need you permission for doing things, for which you you need approval from you sponsor Kafeel.

Sponsor for marriage in Saudi Arabia

There is not any thing you need to ask from you sponsor in this regard. You can get married without approval from sponsor.

Sponsor in Case of  death

In the case of death it is a also a burden on sponsor, lot of legal documents are required from kafeel to register the person as dead in record. Normally it requires 3 days to bury a body in Saudi Arabian Soil if expatriate’s family members want to bury him in Saudi Arabia. If they wan to take his body to his native then the procedure become more complex prolong for 15 days.

Sponsor Having you Passport

In many cases you kafala system is not well such as your sponsor took your passport and only handle to you when you can leave the country. This is consider totally illegal in Kafala system.

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