RIYADH   -   Saudi Arabia said Wednesday it will ease key restrictions on millions of foreign workers, as part of plans to reform its long-criticised labour policy.  Human rights groups have repeatedly called on the kingdom to abolish its "kafala" sponsorship system, described by critics as a modern form of slavery that binds workers to their Saudi employers. The ministry of human resources and social development said that from March 14, expatriates will no longer need their employers' permission to change jobs, travel or leave Saudi Arabia -- home to some 10 million foreigners.

"This initiative will improve and increase the efficiency of the work environment," the ministry said in a statement carried by the official Saudi Press Agency.