KSA’s green card plan for expats welcomed

Updated 24 April 2016
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KSA’s green card plan for expats welcomed

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s plan to issue permanent residence or “green cards” to foreign workers has been warmly welcomed by the expatriate community.

In an interview with Bloomberg, Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman disclosed plans for issuing such cards similar to the US green card system that allows hiring more foreign workers for a fee.
The plan will abolish the existing sponsorship system for holders, who will be required to pay zakat and value-added taxes, if any, besides premiums on insurance, etc. They can own property and undertake commercial, industrial and related activities.
“The plan is very welcome for those living here for over 40 years. I would also suggest that naturalization be given to those who have at least one child willing to serve in the armed forces in any capacity,” said Amir Qayyum, a business development executive from India.
“This is actually in recognition of the universal human rights of residency. We are glad to see the host government extending such a privilege to deserving expats,” said John Monterona, convener of the new OFW Forces Worldwide.
A senior systems engineer at Tawuniya, Saleh Ampaso Bucay, who has been working here since 1992, described the move as a dream come true.
“I am just like many other expatriates who have spent more than half of their lives in this country. All my children were born here. So it is really a great honor if this privilege of either permanent residence or a green card is granted to us,” Bucay observed.
He added that as a Muslim, it will also be a great opportunity to work hand in hand with the citizens in developing the country and protecting it from the enemies of Islam. “I love this country and would like to die and be buried here,” he said.
Gilbert G. Alarcon, senior ISO system auditor at Dar Arriyadh Consultants, said it is a good development as expats already consider Saudi Arabia their second home. “The feeling of acceptance in retrospect gives more meaning to an already fruitful partnership and cooperation between the citizens and expats.”
Rey Eduard Quiblat Umel, an architect and a project engineer, termed King Salman’s wisdom and vision “very exemplary.” The Saudi-Philippine partnership will increase by leaps and bounds, boosting the development of their peoples, he said.
“This will also help the Kingdom’s economy and increase its revenues. It will bolster their manpower without relying on oil,” said Jehad Zacaria Pangcoga, from the Philippines.


Saudi heritage body applauds citizen who returned rare artifact

Ali Saad Al-Shahrani returns rare artifacts to an SCTH official in Bishah. (AN photo)
Updated 4 min 37 sec ago
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Saudi heritage body applauds citizen who returned rare artifact

  • Aman named Ali Saad Al-Shahrani handed the rare pieces over to the SCTH office in the governorate of Bishah in Asir province.
  • A spokesman of the SCTH urged others to follow the fine example of Al-Shahrani and support the National Antiquities Recovery Campaign.

RIYADH: Six rare artifacts — some dating back to pre-Islamic times — have been handed over to the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH) by a Saudi citizen.

Majed Alshadeed, SCTH spokesman, told Arab News on Sunday that a man named Ali Saad Al-Shahrani handed the rare pieces over to the SCTH office in the Governorate of Bishah in Asir region.

One of the objects is a stone piece which includes verses from the Holy Qur’an, written in the bas relief style.

He praised Al-Shahrani’s gesture of support for the National Antiquities Recovery Campaign and urged others to follow his example.

However, he added that the gesture was not uncommon as people on many occasions have returned artifacts, showing keenness in supporting the commission in preserving the beautiful heritage and the antiquities of the Kingdom. Not only citizens, but expatriates too, have returned artifacts in the past, he added.

Notably, the SCTH honored the then Portugal Ambassador Manuel Carvalho last December for returning a finely crafted Saudi artifact of the Neolithic era to the commission.

Acknowledging the great gesture, Abdul Rahman Al-Jassas, the Executive Director of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Cultural Heritage Initiative, delivered a certificate of appreciation from SCTH President Prince Sultan bin Salman to the outgoing ambassador.

Praising the move Mohammed Al-Omrah, director general, SCTH branch for Asir region, thanked the citizen for supporting the national initiative, calling for those who have artifacts to hand them in to the SCTH or its branches in the various regions and governates.

Al-Omrah added that the National Antiquities Recovery Campaign was launched by SCTH President Prince Sultan bin Salman.

The SCTH runs a campaign fostering awareness of the importance of returning heritage artifacts and has honored citizens and foreigners who have returned archaeological objects to the commission.

The SCTH held an exhibition for the recovered antiquities and holds a register of the people who give back relics and artifacts. Some of them were honored during the opening ceremony of the first Saudi Archaeology Convention in Riyadh last year.