Legal, Labor, and immigration questions (Riyadh)
To whom it may concern,
I'm an American citizen living in the USA and have had several Skype interviews with the head and representative of a private company located in Riyadh. He's extending me a job offer outlining various aspects of a proposed positions I'm being considered for. However, this document clearly stated that it is not a formal contract. I agreed to the terms and began doing some more research on Saudi labor laws as they pertain to expats, as well as the visa process. I sent him a series of questions (see the quoted text below) that arose from concerns I had during the research.
The following day, his representative replied that he, the owner of the company, could not answer those questions, and that I would receive contract details inshallah (and you and I both know what that means).
My question is this: Are these unreasonable questions to ask a Saudi employer before arriving in the KSA? Why is he unwilling to show me a written contract? That being said, how will I even obtain a work permit without a contract? Is this common business practice that I'm supposed to just trust that he will abide by the written job proposal?
I appreciate your time and consideration. Any help on the matter is greatly appreciated.
These are the questions I sent them. Do they seem unreasonable to ask:
"LABOR LAW QUESTIONS
For the following questions, refer here: Protected content
Chapter 3, Article 49 of the Labor and Workmen Law states that a foreigner will not be issued a work permit until
1. I've entered the country legally. Does this mean I will be entering KSA under a context other than a Work Permit visa? If so, how will I gain entry?
2. I "posses the vocational skills and educational qualifications of which the Country is in need." What are we going to tell the Ministry of Labor? That my BA in Communication and English is needed to facilitate quality assurance in the company?
3. I am under contract with and guaranteed by a Saudi employer. I assume this won't be a problem once I've reviewed and signed a contract.
I'm primarily concerned with points 1 and 2.
Chapter 3, Article 50 states that "every employer shall vocationally prepare his Saudi workmen to replace non-Saudis... so that the Saudi workman may be able to replace the non-Saudi." What are the implications of this in terms of my job security/contract length?
Chapter 4, Article 80 states, "Except within the limits dictated by the need to attract foreign workmen, an employer who employs foreign workmen may not pay them wages and remunerations in excess of what he pays Saudi workmen of equal competence, technical proficiency and academic qualifications." I was just wondering if my fringe benefits (housing, car, computer, etc) are included under 'remunerations' and would put me at any kind of financial risk, unless being classified as a 'head' or 'manager' satisfies the 'equal competence, technical proficiency and academic qualifications' part of this article.
Chapter 4, Article 81 claims I may be financially liable for damage to "machinery or products which belong to...the employer, where such loss, damage or destruction was the result of the workman's fault..."
If I am being provided a company car, I assume that any damage to that would invoke this article. That being said, KSA has a notorious reputation for dangerous driving conditions and (from what I've read) a tendency of authorities to judge in favor of a Saudi over a Westerner in terms of automobile accidents. In regards to that, will automobile insurance be covered by the company? If not, how do I go about obtaining coverage for the vehicle?
CONTRACT QUESTIONS AND CONCERNS
I kindly request that the following points be clearly addressed in the contract:
1. The terms, limitations, and benefits related to the health care coverage.
2. The length of employment in both Gregorian and Hijri calendar dates
3. The means, sum, and frequency of compensation, including salary itself and the net value of salary and remuneration (housing, car, computer, etc).
4. The exact address of the housing provided, along with a description of its dimensions and amenities.
5. Terms, if any, relating to automobile insurance.
6. Conditions and terms related to continued employment after the contract's end.
7. Who I may contact in the event of a dispute, how disputes may be resolved, and the extent of my legal rights as an foreigner working in the KSA.
8. How my Iqama and Passport will be handled.
9. An outline of duties expected of me as a "Quality Assurance Head."
10. Grounds for termination.
Other things I'm curious about that might not necessarily be in the contract, ie.; things I'd like to know for my own amusement.
• What kind of cell phone, if any, will be provided? What are its capabilities? Will there be a data/minutes limit?
• What kind of computer will the company provide?
• What is the make and model of the company car?
• Who will I be living with, and will I have any advance notice of future arrivals/departures from other houseguests?
• [Name omitted] mentioned there may be trips to Dubai in the future?
• What should I do during scheduled prayer time?
• What is the racial make-up of the employees I will be working with?
• What operations specifically will I be overseeing?
• Does the company sponsor any events or social gatherings for its employees outside of the workplace (dinners, outings, etc)?
• How large is the company in terms of total employees and locations worldwide?
I would like to stress again how excited and humbled I am to be presented with such an amazing opportunity. I never imagined I would possibly start my career in the Middle East, but it is a welcome surprise. I'd like to thank you [name omitted] and [name omitted] for considering me for this position and extending an offer of employment. I'm ready to complete this visa process and hop on a plane as soon as possible. "
Again, if anyone has any advice on this matter, I'd greatly appreciate it.