The Ministry of Labour and Social Development (MLSD) have announced changes to the block visa validity, employee onboarding impact on Nitaqat and the compensatory visa.
In October 2017, the MLSD changed the visa validity from two years to one year. Now, in January 2019, they are reversing this decision and allowing two years validity for the block visa, giving companies two years to complete the consular process to hire an employee from abroad.
Employee onboarding impact on Nitaqat
Employee onboarding or release will now take an immediate effect on Nitaqat rating. Previously, it took 26 weeks for employee onboarding to have a positive or negative effect on a company’s Nitaqat rating. The longer waiting period was beneficial for larger establishments but smaller establishments who had to increase their ratings had to wait longer for their rating to increase and receive block visas.
The updates are valid for those who are in the platinum and green Nitaqat classifications and for those who have maintained at least a green Nitaqat rating for the last 13 weeks .
The new compensatory visa program has been launched after it was previously suspended. Companies in the platinum and green (high, medium and low) Nitaqat categories can claim the visa within six months from the date the employee left Saudi on the final exit. However, the visa cannot be granted if it will push the company’s Nitaqat rating to yellow (non compliant). Additionally, all legal licenses must be valid at the time of claiming the compensatory visa through the Ministry of Labour.