Huroob is a common phenomenal in Kingdom of Saudi Arabia now. All categories of employees included in Huroob menace irrespective of profession, status, wealth. Surprisingly, among Huroob victims, 10 % belong to the high profile job category. Only 1 % fights against illegal Huroob and rest of the 99 % leave the Kingdom to their home country through Tharheels with frustrated mind and empty savings.
Huroob is not defined in Saudi labor law. It is an Arabic term which means Absconder/Escapee. It is a kind of termination of work contract in a special situation. It is true that, as per Saudi labor law a Sponsor/ employee has to report his expatriate employee’s absence in employment site for a specified period of time to the passport authorities to declare him as Huroob (Absconder / Escapee), in order to escape liability of illegal activities of the employee during his absence. It is mandatory in Saudi labor law. Otherwise the sponsor will be penalized. Unfortunately now a day’s many sponsors misuse this protective provision of law for ulterior motives. If one becomes Huroob, his residency permit in Saudi Arabia will be cancelled and his stay in the kingdom will be illegal. In this circumstance, his all rights and benefits as a legal employee will be cancelled and he can leave the country only through Deportation (Tharheels) centers.
In Saudi Arabia, the Sponsor (Kafeel) has immense controls over his foreign worker. The Sponsor can only take work permit, Resident permit (Iqama) and Exit / Re-Entry visa of the employees legally. Even though Saudi labor law has given many rights to worker, but many of them cannot avail directly by the worker because of these controls. So if a person wants to return to his mother country, he has to depend Sponsor or Labor Court. Even though Saudi authorities prohibit taking possession of Passport of the worker by their Sponsor/employer, around 99 % of the employers possess the passport of their employees and give only Iqama with them. This is to prevents the worker run away from his employer, even if in the worst cases and he has to depend his employer in case of Exit.
Misuse of Huroob provision: Sometimes the issue of Huroob may be very complicated. The authorities cannot identify the real victims and problem makers in many cases. Some employers misuse this provision in a very cleaver manner. Somebody use this legal provision as an opportunity. If an employee is going to approach labor court against his employer for nonpayment of salary, mistreatment or any other causes, the employer may make a complaint against the worker stating that the worker did not report to him for the last few days consequently worker shall be declared Huroob and consequently the sponsor will be escaped from the allegations and payments and the Huroob employee will be deported to his home country at the State expense also.
Many allegations have come out in regard to the mediators/agents also in between sponsors and worker. Many occasions the mediators/agents mislead sponsors for their own profit motive. Sometimes some sponsors procure work visas from the Saudi Ministry of Interior to recruit expatriate workers to Saudi Arabia. They sell these visas to local agents in Asian countries etc, and make a high profit. When employee reach in Saudi Arabia, the mediator / agent will mislead and Saudi sponsor submit application to declare him as a Huroob, so that the Saudi sponsor can approach the authorities and ask for the same number of visas again that he made Huroob. Some Saudi sponsors themselves doing like this for getting new visa’s.
Legal provisions in Saudi Labor Law: Articles’ 74 to 83 deal with termination of work contract. It is stated that there should be a valid reason behind all terminations and other stringent conditions in favor of the employees as well as protect the rights of employees as well as employers. Saudi labor law does not discriminate rights of employee/ expatriate/ employer etc. it is a fair law. Some clever persons are behind the sabotage of these noble provisions.
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