Nov 29 2011

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No Objection Certificate (NOC) – Saudi labour Law


If I go on an exit visa can I back within 2/3 months?, I heard someone say’s I can’t back within 5 years….and right now I am working in KSA. Please, if I have this information I will be glad to you. – Mr. H (posted on March 18, 2011)

First of all, I would like to mention that, there is no explicit word in new Saudi Labor law in regard to the NOC. You cannot find the word ‘NOC’ in new Saudi Labor Law. (But Article 83 indirectly explain the procedure for some categories). Legally, NOC was a concept of old Saudi labor law. The law makers included this provision in old Saudi Labor Law to protect the legitimate interest of the genuine employer and combat unfair practices and competition between the employers. At the same time, it restrict unfair job switching of the employees also. But sometimes some employers try to misuse this genuine legal provision.

But now a day’s in Saudi Arabia, expatriates who is going for exit, are in confusion in regard to NOC. NOC is a No Objection Certificate given by the employer/Sponsor to the employee after termination of his contract. Under the previous Saudi labor law, after expiry or termination of the contract, if the employee need to comeback to kingdom to work with another employer or a new job, he need to get a NO OBJECTION CERTIFICATE from his previous employer prior to his exit.

NOC shows the consent and no objection of the previous employer to work with any other employer by the employee. Under the revised law, the No Objection Certificate by the companies for the departing employees was eliminated, if they had a proper exit visa on thie passports. The final exit visa stamped on their passport is the clear proof that the person left the company and Kingdom without any problems. Evenif the law explain like this,but practically when you go to Saudi embassy for stamping your new visa, they will ask you NOC in some cases. If no NOC, you have to wait at least one year to comeback kingdom.  (In regard to Indian expatriates, the consulate in Mumbai, India, has announced that if an Indian expatriate left Saudi Arabia on a valid exit visa (not exit/re-entry visa) with the intention to switch over his job to another employer, he can come back kingdom without a No Objection Certificate from his current employer.)

In your question you did not mentioned your job profile or nature of exit. The time period to stay out is depending upon the nature of the job of employee. Even though statute stipulates this provision only for some categories, practically, Saudi embassy will ask for NOC for all categories. If you are an ordinary employee and have no NOC, you must wait one year outside Kingdom for comeback. If you are a key employee, who has access to business secrets, clients and confidential matters of the company, then you must wait 2-3 years outside the Kingdom. In statue, maximum period limited to two years but often it may extend up to three years.

If your contract termination is a legal termination, i.e., after the expiry of the contract term etc, you can request for a NOC from your employer. But at the same time you cannot compel your employer to issue a NOC in your favor. Because as per Saudi law employers are not required to compulsorily issue NOC. It is the prerogative of the employer.

Please be noted that, you must go on an Exit visa. If you leave the Kingdom with an exit-re entry visa, you cannot come back to work with another employer. You will be sent back from the airport itself. Moreover it is a crime.

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