Saudi’s King Salman issues new directives on unpaid salaries for foreign workers

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman has allocated SAR 100m ($266.5m) and issued a series of directives with the intention of resolving all cases of unpaid salaries in the kingdom.

This follows complaints from hundreds of thousands of workers in the construction sector over unpaid dues. reports that the directive obliges companies to pay the salaries of their workers through the wage protection programme.

Under the system, companies will not be paid for their work by the government until the Ministry of Labour confirms that workers’ salaries have been paid on time.

The SAR 100m fund will be deposited in the Saudi Arab Fund with the intention of deducting any costs related to resolving the issue from violating firms’ accounts.

In recent months, local construction firms Saudi Oger and Saudi Binladin Group have made headlines following protests and thousands of complaints from workers over unpaid wages.

At the end of July, India said it would send a government minister to the country amid concerns more than 10,000 Indians were facing a “food crisis” after being laid off or not paid.

King Salman called for the country’s labour minister to address housing and accommodation services for distressed workers by contracting related firms.

The funds to pay for these services will reportedly be taken directly from their employers’ receivables from the government.

The Saudi ruler has also directed the labour minister to coordinate with Saudi Arabian Airlines to transport workers back home at the cost of their employer if they wish to do so and for the country’s passporting department to provide final exit visas.

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He also encouraged the minister to contract legal consultancies to pursue financial claims against the firms and meet with representatives from concerned countries to highlight the kingdom’s efforts in resolving the issue.