Human Rights Watch urges Riyadh to reform labour law

22 July 2008
The US-based Human Rights Watch has called on the Saudi Arabian government to implement its proposed reform to the ‘kafala’ sponsorship system and extend protection to domestic workers.

The ‘kafala’ system ties migrant workers’ visas to their employers, meaning employers can deny workers the ability to change jobs or leave the country.

The government proposal would make recruitment agencies, rather then employers, the immigration sponsors for foreign workers.

It comes following a report from Human Rights Watch, which documented how gaps in the labour law can expose workers to a range of abuses such as long hours, physical confinement in the workplace and little power to collect wages in labour disputes.

According to the group, the reforms would provide workers with important protection and serve as a model for the region.

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