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RIYADH: The Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development is finalizing procedures for the appointment of two labor attachés in Pakistan and India by the end of 2022, according to Deputy Minister Sattam Alharbi. He said that two more labor attachés will be appointed in other countries next year.

HRSDC launched the Attaché program in sending countries in mid-2019. It has since completed procedures for appointing labor attachés in the Philippines and Egypt, two sources of foreign workers in Saudi Arabia.

Alharbi said the program aims to improve coordination with countries by implementing programs and orientation plans on labor regulations and policies in the Kingdom, initiating cultural exchanges between countries and establishing active relations with the authorities concerned in the host country.

It intends to facilitate the holding of job fairs in the countries concerned, in which the recruitment offices will participate, to simulate the conditions of the working environment and verify that the workforce is qualified and eligible to work in the Kingdom.

This program attempts to examine the difficulties encountered by expatriate employees in the Kingdom and to address them with the authorities of the countries of employment.

Sattam Alharbi, Deputy Minister for Work Environment Control and Development at Human Resources and Social Development. (Provided)

Alharbi led the Kingdom’s delegation to the first international migration charter review forum, held at the UN headquarters in New York from May 17-20 this year, and was one keynote speakers at a conference hosted by the Philippines on the sidelines of the Global Forum Conference on Migration at the UN.

Alharbi said the Kingdom has an attractive business environment, leading the region in pioneering ideas and investments, and seeks to improve its competitiveness and attract foreign talent and investment. However, it “faces transnational international challenges that require great international cooperation to overcome”.

The International Charter on Migration, which was ratified in December 2018, includes 23 goals to address migration that address organizational, economic, developmental, social and humanitarian issues, as well as security and human rights.

Alharbi said that the Kingdom considers the International Charter on Migration as part of its efforts in all areas of international cooperation, especially regarding the migration file and the common international challenges it faces. He highlighted the remarkable efforts of the Kingdom in the legal and institutional environment of the national human rights system in general, labor regulations for expatriates, promotion of labor rights, etc.

The ministry launched the Electronic Labor Contract Authentication Program in October 2020. Over five million contracts have been registered and a new version of the program was introduced in May through the Qiwa platform.

Since its inception, the program has contributed to the reduction of labor disputes. According to Ministry of Justice officials, the number of labor cases has decreased by more than 50% following the implementation of initiatives to improve the contractual relationship, including contractual documentation.

Alharbi said that the ministry “does its utmost to uphold the rights of workers in the country and has promulgated three policies to this end: the National Occupational Health and Safety Policy, the National Child Labor Prevention Policy and the national policy for the abolition of forced labour”. .”

He said the National Occupational Health and Safety Policy aims to improve entities’ compliance with the regulations it covers by unifying health and safety legislation.

The policy defines the responsibilities of the relevant government agencies, establishes a governance structure, develops mechanisms to monitor compliance with the legislation and creates mechanisms for collaboration between employers and employees. One of the most important benefits made possible by the implementation of the policy is the creation of a National Council for Occupational Health and Safety to oversee the implementation of the policy with the necessary government entities.

The Child Labor Prohibition Policy was approved by the Council of Ministers in 2021. It provides for a set of interventions at different levels of the public sector to establish a national framework that regulates the labor market with regard to labor children.

Alharbi said that after the Kingdom ratified the ILO Convention on the Prevention of Forced Labour, it was “currently working towards the completion of the national policy for the abolition of forced labour”. The policy aims to achieve a number of goals, including strengthening legislation to prevent forced labor and monitor cases.

The national strategy for the eradication of forced labor aims to facilitate procedures for victims of human trafficking. It also aims to protect victims in accordance with international standards.

The policy aims to expand cooperation with labour-sending countries to build a system that does not contribute to exploitative or vulnerable employment and supports efforts against practices that lead to forced labor, with the aim of introducing such a system by the end of this year. .

Mara R. Wilmoth