JEDDAH: IRFAN MOHAMMED
Published — Wednesday 5 June 2013
Last update 13 June 2013 9:38 am
Several expatriates who had obtained clearance from the deportation center in Jeddah have been turned back from the King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah by immigration authorities.
They were advised to go to an airport in a city nearest to the one from where the iqama was issued.
The unexpected move has caused panic among those whose iqamas were issued from different provinces and fingerprinted at the Jeddah deportation center.
The returnees are approaching their consulates for a solution and some diplomatic missions have taken up the issue with the deportation centers who have given the assurance that they will follow up with the immigration authorities.
Apparently, some expatriates in this category have obtained clearance and their passports stamped with “exit” from Jeddah itself.
According to sources, the authorities at the Jeddah deportation center have clarified they will only do biometric scanning of expatriates whose iqamas were issued from the Western Province.
Based on the latest developments, the Indian Consulate has issued an advisory in this regard.
Many poor expatriates who bought airplane tickets by begging or other means are very worried and waiting anxiously for the next course of action.
Several are confused about how they will be able to travel within the country without valid iqamas.
Most of these people are opting for low cost airlines where there is no refund of ticket amount and all major airlines which are witnessing peak season, deduct high portion of amount for “No Show.”
Murali, an Indian who worked streets to purchase a ticket home, returned from the airport last night after he was told his travel document data was not updated.