The Saudi Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development represented the Kingdom in the United Nations Forum on International Migration Review, which was held in New York this week for the first time since the adoption of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly, and Regular Migration in December 2018.
The ministerial delegation was chaired by the Deputy Minister for Control and Development of Work Environment, Sattam bin Amer AlHarbi, who addressed on the first day of the forum’s events, the Kingdom’s 2030 vision and its goals which aligns with the objectives of the Global Compact for Migration.
AlHarbi also participated in an event held on Thursday, on the sidelines of the forum entitled “Labor Mobility and Human Rights: Improving Labor Migration Governance for Migrant Workers in the Middle East”, invited by the Philippines.
This event aims to highlight the strong partnership between the labor-sending countries like the Philippines and the countries of destination like Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, and to review the flexibility of pathways for regular migration, facilitating fair and ethical recruitment and safeguard conditions that ensure decent work, and strengthening international cooperation and global partnerships for safe, orderly, and regular migration.
The event witnessed a high-ranking diplomatic representation from the three countries, including the Saudi Foreign Minister, Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud, his Bahraini counterpart, and the Secretary-General of the Philippines Ministry for Foreign affairs, along with the labor representatives of these countries.
AlHarbi focused in his speech on the Kingdom’s Vision 2030, which is considered the foundation and the motivation for all the economic and social reforms.
He also made a briefing on many of the kingdom’s important initiatives that contributed in developing and increasing the attractiveness of its labor market such as; the contractual relationship improvement initiative, professional screening program, as well as activating of many new types of visas to meet the market needs and provide more flexible choices to attract skilled workers.
In his speech, he mentioned the kingdom’s initiatives that guarantee the rights of the expats, which include The Wage Protection System to protect workers’ rights to their wages by monitoring the compliance of employers, The Labor Contracts Electronic Authentication Program to enable workers to approve the terms of their contract on a designated platform, “Weddy” program to settle labor disputes, the Labor Education Initiative, and others.
AlHarbi confirmed that the kingdom developed three policies to further protect workers’ rights, which are the National Policy for Occupational Health and Safety, the National Policy to Ban Child Labor, and the national policy to Abolish Forced Labor.
He also emphasized the importance of strengthening international cooperation and global partnerships for safe, orderly, and regular migration, by harmonizing the national policies through multilateral and bilateral engagements.
The kingdom has concluded bilateral agreements with 17 labor-sending countries, all fully aligned with UN, ILO and IOM standards to ensure a human rights-based relationship between employees and employers, he added.