The new labor agreement that was agreed between Saudi Arabia and Pakistan in August 2022 upon by Riyadh and Islamabad to hire Pakistani expatriates, specifying that no Pakistani national with a criminal record shall be hired to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
The agreement also stated that, it is not allowed to deduct recruitment fee from the worker’s salary and that the worker shall arrive to Saudi Arabia within 1 month after the receipt of the work visa.
This agreement was signed between the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development (MHRSD) of Saudi Arabia and the Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development (MOPHRD). The aim of the deal is to recruit labors from Pakistan to work regularly in the Kingdom in a way protecting the rights of employers and workers and regulating the contractual relationship between them.
This deal also states that human resources ministries of both the countries have to work on implementing a mutually acceptable system of hiring, sending and returning Pakistani workers who are hired to work in Saudi Arabia, as per the labor laws, rules and regulations.
It should be made sure that the hiring of labor would be through reputable recruitment or employment offices, companies or agencies licensed by the government of both the countries.
The recruitment fee shall be governed by strict regulations of both the countries. It should be made sure that the employer does not impose any fees or deductions from the worker’s salary in return for recruitment costs.
There is also another regulation under which the employer and worker involved in the contract are entitled to resort to the competent authorities, in case of any contractual dispute as per the applicable laws, rules and regulations.
Legal measures can also be taken against recruitment offices, companies or agencies in case of any violation of laws, rules and regulations. It is also mentioned to work to resolve any problem arising from the application and implementation of any provisions of this agreement.
As per the agreement with Saudi Arabia the Pakistani ministry is bound to carry out the following 7 major responsibilities.
- Ensuring that the hired worker meets the health requirement and is free from infectious diseases and shall be proved through conducting medical tests through reliable medical centers in Pakistan.
- Ensuring that the proposed worker does not have any criminal records.
- Workers shall be trained in specialized institutes or centers.
- Workers shall be educated and given proper awareness about Saudi Arabia’s etiquettes, customs and rules of conduct that are in force during their stay in the Kingdom.
- Motivating the worker to complete the terms of their labor contracts.
- Taking the necessary action to facilitate sending the worker to the Kingdom within a period not more than 1 month from the date of receiving the visa.
- Facilitating the return of the worker in case of a violation of the contractual terms.
Six Major responsibilities for Saudi Arabia’s MHRSD for Pakistani workers:
- Recruitment and employment of workers shall be in line with the provisions of the agreement as per the applicable laws, rules and regulations.
- Guarantee protection of rights of workers in Saudi Arabia as per the applicable laws, rules and regulations.
- Facilitating the opening of a bank account by the employer in the name of the worker to deposit his or her monthly salary stipulated in the work contract.
- Striving to have a procedure to provide around the clock assistance to workers.
- Seeking to ease the rapid settlement of labor contract violations and other labor cases that comes in front of the Saudi authorities and courts.
- Facilitate the issuance of Final exit visas to return the workers to their homeland upon completion of the period of the contract or in emergency cases or if the need arises.
There is also another provision in the agreement between two countries, which is to set up a joint technical committee with the representatives of both the countries to conduct a periodic review to evaluate and monitor the implementation of the provisions of the agreement including to hold rotating consultative meetings in Saudi Arabia and Pakistan at a date and place agreed upon by two parties. These committees can make the necessary recommendations in the agreement to resolve differences whenever necessary. The agreement also stipulates to complete the settlement of any dispute over the implementation of this agreement amicably in consultation between two parties through their diplomatic missions.
In case to make any amendment or revision to any of the provisions this agreement, this shall be done with the consent of two countries as per the legal procedures that are in force in both the countries and shall come into force from the date agreed upon between them.
This agreement shall be valid for 5 years, automatically renewable for a similar period, unless one of the parties inform the other party in writing through diplomatic channels of its desire to terminate it, and it must be 2 months before the date of expiry of this agreement.