Waseem: The story of a Saudi (by Heart) and Expatriate by Nationality

An expatriate living in Saudi Arabia does not get the status of a Saudi National regardless of the years of service he has done in the country or the amount of time he has spent in the country. Expatriates have been living in Saudi Arabia since a long time now, they have been born in this country, many are even the children of second and third generation expatriates who have also been born here but they are still made to feel like they do not belong here.[irp]

This article states the story of one of them. Waseem came from Pakistan with his family at the age of 3 and has been living in Saudi Arabia since 40 years now. He was brought up here, went to school, became accustomed to the traditions and cultures of the country and now works for an elderly Saudi family in Jeddah.

Due to his honesty, he has been entrusted with all their financial matters. When Waseem was young, his father applied for nationality for the whole family. Waseem’s elder siblings were able to get citizenship while Waseem’s case was delayed due to his young his age.

When his father died, his chances for citizenship died away as well. As he grew older and wanted to start his own family, things got complicated without his nationality. Getting approval was among many of the problems faced by him.

With time the citizenship laws became stricter and the chances for Saudi nationality became narrower. The problems kept on increasing as his children became of school age. The government schools were never in the picture. They had to study in Pakistani schools, and today upon graduation of his son from school, Waseem is left to worry about his further education.

The universities in Saudi Arabia do not permit admission of foreigners and Waseem is concerned as to what he should do. He does not want to send his son abroad, even to Pakistan where he does not have good ties with his family anymore, moreover, his son would be a stranger to the customs and traditions of Pakistan.

Waseem is one of the many parents left stranded in similar situations. Their forefathers had come here from the corners of the world not because of the riches of this land but because of the prospect of the holy cities. They had come here and settled with only the holy prospect in their mind.

Today these people are facing problems which might split their families apart, they are facing problems in the country where they have lived their entire life and yet not recognized as nationals. They are now stuck with no country to call their homeland, even where their forefathers came from seems an alien place to them now.

The authorities should grant nationality to the people in these situations, to clear out their problems and to help boost vision 2030 with new investments from immigrants. This skill and talent should be given the opportunity to embrace this land as their own and contribute towards the prosperity of the country.

Source: Saudi Gazette