A meeting was held in the southwest region of the Kingdom, Al Baha. The meeting consisted of security authority officials, leaders of tribes, media and education personals. Jamaan Bin Ahmad Al Ghamidi who is the consultant to the public security thereby announced that a reward amounting SR 50,000 would be given to individuals reporting the expats who are violators of residency and labor laws of the Kingdom. He also briefed that those employers who have employed illegal expats shall face strict punishments. Al Ghamidi said that zero tolerance would be shown towards such employers.[irp]
The reason is that the illegal foreigners residing in the Kingdom pose a great threat to security and economy. They are imposing social and health dangers as well. Thereby anyone involved in assisting the illegal expats shall face a penalty. He declared that the campaign in Baha had been successful. According to him, so far 1350 foreigners have been able to regularize their status that too in a short span of time. Al Ghamidi disclosed that under the campaign 30 companies were selected to hire expats through a completely legal process. Also, a careful examination of the different situation was done which helped in hiring expats at a cheaper operational cost. As domestic helpers, farmers, construction workers, and shepherds do not fall in Saudization Program, Visas were issued for such people.
In the meeting, Al Ghamidi requested the foreigners with legal issues to formalize their situation as soon as possible. Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Nayef has already initiated a campaign known as “Nation Free of Violators”. A three-month long amnesty time has been initiated since 29th March 2017. Under this time, illegal expats have an occasional opportunity to leave the Kingdom on their own without facing fines and legal measures. According to authorities a fine ranging from 15,000 to 100,000 riyals would be imposed on those who did not leave the Kingdom within the amnesty period.
The undocumented expats have a chance of legalizing their status. The Saudi interior minister, Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Nayef, has ordered the agencies to let the foreigners leave the Kingdom on their own without any difficulty till the amnesty period expires. Mansoor Al-Turki who is the spokesperson for the interior ministry briefed that the illegal expats who have broken work and residency laws shall avail the amnesty time and leaves the Kingdom.
They can return by holding legal status! But after amnesty period expires, they won’t be able to return the Kingdom as their fingerprints would be scanned and saved in for deportee list. Al-Turki also briefed that The Nation Free of Violators campaign is for those expats who are not equipped with residency and/or work permit and those who entered Saudi Arabia with Haj, Umrah, visit or transit visas and failed to leave before their expiry[irp]
Illegal expats had been a prolonged issue of Saudi Arabia. In 2013, King Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz also initiated a 90-days long grace time to allow those foreigners to leave the Kingdom or legalize their status who have been living illegally in Saudi Arabia. According to the General Authority for Statistics, out of a population of 32 million in Saudi Arabia, more than 12 million are foreigners. Having foreigners is not an issue for Saudi Arabia, yet an issue is an abundant number of illegal expats!
Source: Gulf News