The Truth About 2-Year Rule of Iqama Transfer and Sponsorship, Revealed!

2-Year Rule of Iqama Transfer and Sponsorship: The topic about transfer of sponsorship is very wide but has a huge impact on the expatriates living in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The topic about whether it is possible for an expatriate to change his or her employer within two years of joining has been in discussion for a very long time.

As stated, the topic is critical and for this reason, the answer could be “Yes or No” given the scarce information that is present in Saudi Arabia.

With this kind of situation in mind, this article aims to clear the rumors and propaganda circulating among people. The two years rule of transfer of sponsorship is quite a sensitive matter of concern to the expatriates residing in this kingdom.


Rule Initiated

The rule actually came into force in the year 2010 which stopped the illicit trade of visas or more commonly referred to as free visas in the previous years.

The rule basically dictated that an employee cannot be transferred from one employer to another before completing a duration of two years of employment with the first employer.

As a result, the rule reduced the number of visas that were sold by the Saudi but still some companies held on to the illegal act allowing the transfer of visas even before the end of two years with the previous employer.

This was mostly rampant among Government relations officers of the companies that had strong relations with the people in the Jawazat offices and they could easily carry out the visa transfers.

However, after the law being enforced, the government granted a grace period of 7 months to the people who were still carrying out the free visa business or those who were staying in Saudi Arabia illegally to rectify their illegal acts and acquire legitimate residence status.

The government reduced the rule of two years of sponsorship as well as during the period of amnesty in May 2013. This is made possible for anyone to change his sponsorship to the actual employer prior to the completion of two years of employment with the previous one.


New MOL Directive on Sponsorship transfer

On September 20, 2014, the Saudi Gazette reported about a new directive from the Ministry of Labor in which the rule of two years for transfer of Iqama had been waived giving room and making it possible for expatriates to transfer their sponsorship easily.

The news was welcomed with great joy especially among the expatriates residing in Saudi Arabia. This meant that they could be able to move with ease from one employer to another even without the completion of the two year period.

Moreover, up to this point the news has been taken positively by the expatriate workforce in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. On the other hand, businessmen have also absorbed the news with pleasure.

Additionally, most of the people who come to the kingdom on free visa will also be very pleased about the news. Really, it is a major cause of concern for the expatriates residing in Saudi Arabia.

The new rule will reduce the high level of exploitation that the newcomers had to face and bear with as they moved to the kingdom. The public has taken full support of the new rule that marks a positive step taken by the Ministry of Labor.

  • Abdurahman

    about this Sponsorship/Iqama Transfer, it’s still the prerogative of the Employer if they will be releasing you even after you finished your 2-year contract, right? or you can go to MOI to apply for Transfer to another employer?

  • Yasir Aslam

    Is presence necessary of dependents (family under my sponsorship) in Saudia while transferring my Iqama to a new employer,,

  • Mohan Kumar

    I have brought my wife in famliy visa and I did the necessary process that is medical test as well as the medical insurance from my company. its been two weeks, I got my wifes medical insurance but still the insurance is not updated in MOI. Kindly guide me for the further process?