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Mandatory travel and vaccination policies in Saudi Arabia

  • Legal Development 18 October 2021 18 October 2021
  • Middle East

  • Employment, Pensions & Immigration

In this article, we provide a brief update on the new mandatory travel and COVID-19 vaccination policies in Saudi Arabia.

Mandatory travel and vaccination policies in Saudi Arabia

The Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development (MHRSD) has mandated one of the region’s strictest COVID-19 vaccination policies with all individuals needing to be fully vaccinated by 1 August 2021, in order to attend the workplace. Entry into all public spaces requires individuals to maintain a green status on the Government Tawakkalna app, with individuals who have only received one dose of the Covid vaccine requiring a negative PCR test each week to ensure green status.

For individuals who have not been vaccinated or refuse to do so, the MRSD has directed employers to take the following steps on a graduated basis:

  • To permit the employee to work from home if the role is conducive to home working.
  • To ask the employee to take all accrued untaken leave.
  • To ask the employee to take unpaid leave.
  • To take appropriate measures under the labour law (which could include disciplinary measures or potentially even termination).

The Kingdom continues to operate red lists to which its nationals are forbidden to travel and from which foreign nationals are subject to institutional quarantine. The red list of countries can be subject to change at short notice such as the suspension of flights to and from the UAE on 3 July 2021 (on three days notice issued on 28 June 2021) which was lifted on 7 September 2021. However, nationals of red list countries who are resident in the Kingdom and who obtained two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine in KSA prior to travel to their home country are permitted to return without institutional quarantine.

In this environment, employers are advised to be clear with employees on the risk of travel and the steps which will be implemented if an employee is prevented from returning to the Kingdom and their role; for example whether they will be able to work remotely or go onto unpaid leave.

If you require any further information or have any queries on the above, please contact us

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