Saudi Arabia is the biggest country in the Gulf region. It is considered to be the 14th largest nation in the world. It has common boundaries with Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Oman and Qatar. The capital city is Riyadh.
If you require any information or you are stranded and need help in Saudi Arabia e.t.c you can contact the Riyadh Embassy through information below.CONTACT EMBASSY
Kenyan Embassy in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Diplomatic Quarter
P. O. Box 94358
TELEPHONE: (+966) 11 488 1238 or (+966) 11 488 2484
FAX: (+966) 11 488 2629
EMAIL: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
OFFICE HOURS: 09.00-13.00
HEAD OF MISSION: Mr Mohamed A. Mahamud, Ambassador
RELIGION & LANGUAGE
- The official religion is Islam.
- Public practice of any religion other than Islam is prohibited.
- The official language is Arabic and most of the official business is conducted in only Arabic.
- All women, including those from abroad, must wear an abaya (a full-length, loose black robe that is worn over normal clothes) outside the home and also have their heads covered.
- Men should also dress conservatively and not wear shorts in public or go without a shirt. Standard dress for men is lightweight trousers and shirt (usually long-sleeved).
- The currency is the Saudi Arabian Riyal (SAR) and it is divided into 100 halalas.
- The current exchange rate for SAR 1 is about Kshs 28. The exchange rate between the US dollar and the Saudi Riyal is fixed at USD 1 = SAR 3.75
LEGAL SYSTEM IN SAUDI ARABIA
- For any complaints relating to contractual violations, there are labour courts where grievances can be registered. The embassy officials assist workers in registration and follow-up of these cases.
- All legal proceedings are carried out in only Arabic.
- The legal system is complex and getting a final verdict takes a lot of time.
- Following up a legal case is a very costly affair in Saudi Arabia on account of the exorbitant fees charged by lawyers.
- Law enforcement is very strict and punishments for violations of the rules are very severe.
- Those charged with murder, drug trafficking, adultery, rape, homosexual acts, conversion of a Muslim to another faith, terrorism, etc. could face the death penalty. Possession of narcotics, alcohol, food items containing pork, khas khas, khat leaves, etc., gutka, pan masala, or other forbidden material such as religious literature or articles associated with faiths other than Islam, pornographic/obscene material, etc. are dealt with sternly, with severe punishments including jail time, public flogging and deportation.
- Strikes and agitations are illegal; one could get arrested, imprisoned and deported for them.
- There is no ‘free visa’ for Saudi Arabia.
- If you are migrating to Saudi Arabia for work, you need to do so against a work visa.
- A work visa is issued with the name of the employer and the job title specified in it. If you are caught working with a different employer or in a different job, you could be arrested, jailed and deported, with a ban on returning to the Kingdom and possibly to other GCC countries.
- In order to be issued a visa, your passport needs to be valid for at least six months.
WORK WEEK & HOURS
- Friday is the weekly rest day for most workers. The employer may replace this day for some of his workers with any other day of the week.
- The government sector, banking and some businesses follow a five-day work week from Sunday to Thursday and with Friday and Saturday as the weekend.
- A work day is generally eight hours and a work week is forty-eight hours. If you agree to work beyond normal working hours, your employer is required to pay an overtime allowance of an additional 50 per cent of the basic wage per extra hour.
- You are entitled to a rest of thirty minutes during a work day and shall not be made to work for more than five hours continuously.
- Total working hours should not exceed eleven hours per day.
- The working hours for the offices are generally are rom 7:30 or 8:00 a.m. to noon, and from 3:30 or 4:00 p.m. until 7:00 or 8:00 p.m. However, working hours in private establishments vary.
- During the month of Ramadan working hours are reduced to six hours a day for Muslim workers.
- A well-connected public transportation system within most of the cities is absent.
- The locals rely on personal vehicles for transportation.
- Taxis remain the most used/preferred mode of transportation for those who do not own personal vehicles.
- Companies usually provide transport to and from the labour camp/workplace.
- A well-connected network of roads connecting major cities is available.
- Inter-city buses run by the government-owned Saudi Arabian Public Transport Company (SAPTCO) are available.
- Women are not allowed to drive.
LABOUR LAWS IN SAUDI ARABIA
- All general category workers (those working in companies/establishments) are covered under the provision of the labour laws.
- Domestic service workers (cleaning persons, house drivers, gardeners, etc.) or agricultural workers (in firms employing less than ten workers), or workers on a short-term work visa, etc. are not covered by the provisions of the labour laws.
- The labour laws protect workers against abuse by employers and also ensure that employers don’t terminate contracts arbitrarily.
Below are various provisions of the labour laws in Saudi Arabia
Probation & Recruitment fees, etc.
- The probation period shall not be more than 90 days. Normally, either party shall have the right to terminate the contract during this period and no compensation shall be admissible.
- Employers shall incur the fees pertaining to the recruitment, medical tests, fees of the residence permit, their renewal and fines resulting from any delay as well as fees pertaining to exit and re-entry visas.
Insurance & Air ticket
- The employer has the responsibility for ensuring mandatory health insurance coverage of the employee.
- The employer has to bear the airfare of the workers from the home country to Saudi Arabia for joining work and for their return after completion of the contract period.
- Though a very common practice, it is illegal for employers to hold in their custody the passport of their workers. You are not obliged to hand over your passports or originals of other documents to your employer even for safekeeping.
- However, it must be remembered that even with the passport in your custody, you need an exit visa for leaving the Kingdom, for which the consent of the employer/sponsor is a must.
- You are entitled to twenty-one days vacation with full pay after completing one year of service and thirty days vacation with full pay after five years continuous service with the same employer.
You are entitled to sick leave of thirty days with full salary, and then 3/4th of the normal salary for the next sixty days of sickness.
- You can also get other paid leave for reasons like marriage, death of spouse (three days) and childbirth (one day).
- A female worker is entitled to ten weeks maternity leave—four weeks before the expected date of delivery and six weeks after the delivery. During maternity leave, women are paid half of their salary if they have worked for at least one year with the same employer. They will be paid their full salary if they have worked for the employer for three years or more.
- The employer has to pay for physical examination, treatment and delivery and is not allowed to fire a female worker during maternity leave.
- Women are not allowed to work in dangerous industries or jobs.
- You must have a written employment contract entered into with your prospective employer. This is a very important document which specifies the terms of the employment, including the entitlements and obligations of both parties, and you must be aware of its contents.
- The labour laws state that the employment contract shall be in Arabic and can also be in another language along with Arabic. However, in case of a dispute, the Arabic text shall prevail. It will, therefore, be very important to understand what is written in Arabic before one signs the contract.
- You will be required to sign an employment contract in India while your Recruiting Agent processes your visa.
- The contract shall include the name and address of the employer and the employee, job title, location of work, duration of contract, probation period, wage agreed upon, provision of free food or food allowance and accommodation, working hours, overtime allowance, vacation, air passage, medical insurance, end-of-service benefits, provision in regard to disposal or transportation of mortal remains to India in case of demise of the employee, mode of settlement of disputes, etc.
- The contract will be signed by the employer and the employee and will be in duplicate, one copy to be retained by each of the parties.
If you are asked to sign a second employment contract (in Arabic) upon your arrival in Saudi Arabia, you must understand the terms of the contract. You can also contact the Embassy for any assistance in this regard.
Duties of the worker
- A worker can only work with the employer and in the profession specified in the visa/iqama. It is illegal to work with another employer or in a profession other than the one specified in the visa/iqama.
- Change of profession is not allowed.
- Change of employer can be done only through the Labour Ministry with the approval of the previous employer.
- If you run away from your employer or refuse to work, you could be declared as huroob or a runaway by your employer. As a result, your stay in the country will become illegal and you stand to lose all your legal rights. You will also face difficulties in leaving the country.
- It is the duty of the worker to perform the work in accordance with the instructions of the employer, to take due care of the machinery, tools, supplies, and raw materials placed at his disposal, abide by proper conduct and ethical norms during work, extend all assistance in cases of hazards threatening the workplace, undergo medical examinations required prior to or during employment to ensure that he is free from occupational or communicable diseases,and not disclose any information related to the work or firm to a third party which may cause damage to the employer’s interests.
- Workers have no right to strike work or resort to agitations. It is illegal to do so and one could be arrested, imprisoned and deported.