Friday, February 15, 2013

Death compensation procedure in Saudi Arabia

I had written earlier about the formalities to be followed in case of death of an expatriate in Saudi Arabia (click here). 

Very frequently, I have been getting requests by dependents of such expatriates who passed away. The unfortunate part is when the kith and kin of such expats are in the home countries and have absolutely no clue of how to go about getting the dues from the sponsors. It is hard on the dependents to lose their bread winner, but it is even more disastrous when some sponsors do not bother to settle the dues of their deceased employees leaving the next of the kin in the lurch. I was recently moved by one such request pleading for help on the way forward, because there was just no help coming from the sponsor, so I decided to do a separate post on this for the benefit of such people.

What happens to the dues of deceased expat workers? Does it get locked up forever? Is there no way by which the next of the kin could get some relief? What if there is no response from the sponsor? The only way out is legal action, but what could the kith and kin living thousands of kilometers away do to get their rightful dues? 

To answer these, one must understand that there are certain procedures to be followed. To begin with, the legal heirs of the dead expat must contact their embassy in Riyadh. The first step is to prove that they are the legal heirs and must arrange for what is known as a "Legal Heir Certificate" (LHC). This certificate must contain the full names of each one of the dead person's children / legal heirs, including minor children and the age and relationship of each one of the legal heirs with the deceased. In case the deceased had minor children, the name, age and relationship of the guardian must also be mentioned in this certificate. Finally, this certificate has to be issued by a statutory authority in the home country, such as a Civil Judge / District Magistrate, etc.

The next step is to get hold of someone in the kingdom who is ready to attend the court proceedings on behalf of the legal heirs. This is not only impractical, but also a pain for anyone. So, I would suggest that the best way out is to authorize the Embassy of the deceased person to handle the case. To do this, the legal heirs must arrange for a Power of Attorney (POA). The POA is a legal document which you must contain the names and signatures of each one of the legal heirs. In case of minor children, it is mandatory for the guardian of the minor kids to sign this document. For those people who cannot sign, the left thumb impression for men and right thumb impression for women are considered legally adequate. The POA must very clearly state that the legal heirs are authorizing the Ambassador of their country's embassy in Riyadh with powers to nominate any of the officers of the embassy to represent them in courts of the kingdom. A very important point to note is that the POA, as required by the Saudi courts, come in a standard format. NEVER make any change to this format and NEVER have any initials or shortened form of names (for example Md., instead of Mohammed). Saudi courts accept only the full name of legal heirs.

You will have to then get both these certificates translated into Arabic. That alone is not enough. You MUST get both the English as well as the Arabic translation attested at three different levels. First, your local provincial Government's Home or Interior Department has to attest these certificates. Next, you must get them attested by the External Affairs / Foreign Office in your country. Finally, they must be attested by the Saudi embassy or consulate in your home country.

Once this is done, you must submit the entire set to your country's embassy in Riyadh. they will take over from that point of time to get your dues legally. How successful they are is another matter, but this is the procedure. As indicated in my earlier post (click here), every embassy has its own legal department and authorized lawyers who will fight the case on your behalf in the labor courts in Saudi. One important point is that the format for POA is fixed by the Ministry of Justice of the Saudi Government, so you must take care not to change even slightly and it must be complied with 100%. I have a specimen copy of the POA with me and would gladly share it with anyone who requests the same.

I trust this was of some use to those who are in such a bad shape after losing their near ones. If any such unfortunate dependent got benefited from this, then my day is made. 


John Miller said...

Absolutely brilliant article, Expatguru. It is amazing how you have painstakingly collected such info which cannot be found anywhere else. Kudos!

Md Inayath Hussain Amer said...

Does a person or kith, kin get compensation on death on visit?

Expatguru said...


You can claim compensation is only if the death has occured due to negligence of the other party, eg., in case of road accidents due to rash driving, etc., and not due to natural causes.

najeeb said...

Thank you so much. 3 of my friend died in an accedent in saudi. i am trying out to help their family. Death certificate is issued now. can you please share the POA format to my email.

Expatguru said...


I will write a separate post on this in a day or two for the benefit of all expatriates. Please bear with me until then.

khalil ur rehman said...

In Feb 2015, while coming back from Makkah after Umra, I met a road accident; resulting deaths of my wife, one son 12 years old n one daughter 3 years old. I myself was driving the car-owned by a friend. I am from Pakistan n am working here in Saudi Arabia as a deputationist in a govt agency. I want to know that if there any monetary compensation on deaths of my family? I shall be grateful if you could help me in this regards. Thanx

Expatguru said...


Extremely sorry to hear this sad news. May God give you strength to bear this huge loss.

Regarding compensation, matters have been made complicated because you were driving your friend's car. It all depends on whether your friend had taken a comprehensive insurance which also covered whoever was driving his car. Get in touch with your insurance company and also your embassy.

Osman Saber said...

Assalam alaikum Sir
My father passed away in Saudi Arabia recently. He was working there.
I myself am residing in Saudi Arabia. I have a query regarding the POA. If some of my siblings are residing in countries other than India or Saudi Arabia, then how to complete the POA. Any help in this matter will be highly appreciated.
JazakAllah khair

Expatguru said...


So sorry for your loss. I fully understand your situation.

You have no option but to send the original POA to each of your siblings by courier and get it signed by every one of them.

Rajkumar said...

my uncle met with an accident and passed away in saudhi arabia. The accident was happened when he is on duty and he had 30+ years of experience in that company. please let me know whether his family eligible for any compensation provided by company or government.

please provide the details about the compensation which they can get?

Thanks in advance

Rajkumar A

Expatguru said...


So sorry to hear this.

If the death was due to an industrial accident, there are separate set of laws as defined by Saudi Labour Law for compensation. But giving consideration to the long years of service your uncle had put in, it is likely that his employer would give much more than what is mandatory.

There would not be any compensation from the Government, but only by the employer. The employer would in turn be getting it from the group insurance. The paperwork takes a while to complete, but eventually his family would get it. Make sure to keep chasing the employer.

gopal phadnis said...

DEar Sir,

My brother in law passed away due to heart attack when he was in india on duty. He was working for a company in Riyadh KSA. We have just informed the company. What is the relief the family is supposed to get.

Please advise

Thanks in advance


Expatguru said...


So sorry for your loss.

Since he was on duty when your brother in law passed away, he is covered by the group insurance taken by his company, in which there are standard clauses regarding compensation. Please get in touch with the sponsor for further details as the money would be disbursed by the insurance company (not the sponsor). Try and get the required documentation in order ASAP, so that the money reaches his family soon.

Kim said...

Dearest expatguru,
My partner of 5 years passed away 2 months ago while on holiday in Philippines but was working in Saudi Arabia, thou we weren't married we had a son 4 years old and he's got me pregnant of our second baby. However, I was his next of kin in the contract he signed in his employer in Saudi. Do I have all the right to claim for what he has left even his last pay in Saudi? I have been told by their office that I will get all but the corporate office is taking too long to release it. Your response be greatly appreciated..

Yasir Khan said...

My father died in saudi arabia.
The company he was working for is ready to pay his graduaty . but regarding insurance they are saying it may take 5 to 6 months duration. I need to ask why they are taking so much time ?

Expatguru said...


So sorry to hear this. I would advice you to take the gratuity and wait for the insurance as it is not in the control of the company. I know it is a painful wait but eventually you will get it. May God give you the strength in these difficult times.