(MENAFN - Arab News) The Ministry of Labor says it will no longer accept paperwork for most of its services at offices from Jan. 16
The use of the ministry's web portal, which will provide instant services such as work permit renewals, will become mandatory
Employers will be able to declare absconding employees with just the click of a mouse, according to a ministry announcement
Experts say the move could negatively affect the careers of employees who have not run away and continue to work with their employers.
The Labor Ministry has been insisting on the use of their web portal in recent months.
The website will provide seven important services, which mostly involve day-to-day transactions for expatriates. These include issuing, renewing or canceling work permits, reporting and canceling absconding reports, issuing provisional licenses or final exit visas, transferring services, canceling visas or applying for a change of profession or sponsorship
Ziyad Sayegh, undersecretary at the Ministry of Labor, said the ministry would no longer accept hard copy documentation for such services from Sunday
Applications must henceforth be submitted on mol.gov.sa
He said the electronic database had helped the ministry devise important strategies
The Labor Ministry says 90 percent of its transactions are being carried out on the web and that more than 16 million transactions have been made since its launch two years ago.
In the first year of its launching, users could only issue and renew work permits on the website.
The following year, more services, such as changing professions, were also introduced.
Services such as cancelation of visas, submission of absconding reports and implementation of the wage protection system were included last year
Osama Sulaiman, a Saudi national who works as a representative to the Ministry of Labor office on behalf of a prominent company, told Arab News that he had observed long queues at the ministry offices prior to the introduction of the web portal system.
He said: "I was hardly ever able to find parking when I went for morning prayers at a mosque near a labor office. Since then, I have carried out most of my transactions at my desk and only visit the office when absolutely necessary.
He said that although the web portal service is satisfactory, a system should be introduced to update applicants on the status of their transactions
KP Shamsuddin, a Jubail-based Indian social worker, expressed his concern about the feature that allows employers to submit absconding reports against expatriate staff
This option might be misused by employers, potentially ruining expats' careers, he warned.
Shamsuddin alleged that many sponsors wrongfully declared their employees as runaways