Foreign missions disappointed at slow deportation process

Updated 26 June 2013
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Foreign missions disappointed at slow deportation process

Countries sending housemaids to the Kingdom were disappointed at the rate in which exit visas are being stamped at the Deportation Center in Riyadh.
Some 10,000 housemaids, with emergency certificates are struggling to get their exit visas stamped at the immigration counter in the Deportation Center’s women section, describing the output at the counters as very slow. Countries that are affected by the bureaucratic delay include Indonesia, Nepal, Ethiopia, Kenya, the Philippines and Sri Lanka.
A spokesman from one of these Asian embassies told Arab News yesterday that they have issued some 1,500 emergency certificates but so far obtained only 300 exit visas stamped from the authorities.
“We are worried that we won’t be able to meet the deadline due to the delay on the part of the authorities,” he said, pointing out that the mission was able to obtain only six exit visas for maids. “How can we move on at this rate?” he asked.
There is only one computer at the Deportation Center to process the exit visas, said another envoy.
“They work from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. on working days, how many exit visas can be stamped in a day?” he asked. Another common complaint made by the mission is that the deportation authorities are demanding their original iqamas and passports from the stranded women, who do not have any proper documents except for the emergency certificates issued by the embassies.
Most of the runaway maids do not possess their iqamas and passports. Their missions have issued emergency certificate following extensive investigations to ascertain their citizenship and the nature of work done by the domestic aides.
In Jeddah, the paperwork of housemaids is being processed in a smooth manner, an official from an Asian consulate said. However, he said that the deportation authorities accept male workers from Jeddah only and others from Riyadh and Dammam have been requested to go to their places of origin.
Another problem that has arisen in the port city is the non-acceptance of hand-written passports for the transfer of sponsorships.
However, some diplomatic missions only issue this kind of passport to stranded workers. Immigration authorities in other parts of the Kingdom have no problem accepting manual passports.
Meanwhile, two officials from the Saudi Human Rights Commission, who visited an Asian embassy in Jeddah, have asserted that they are in favor of an extension of the amnesty deadline. However, they have suggested that such an extension needs to be reinforced with an increase in the number of government services and facilities, including more computers, counters and additional staff.
One mission, which has more than 10,000 workers, has only received the documents of 2,000 workers processed with eight working days to go.


Kiswa of Kaaba raised in preparation for Hajj

Updated 15 min 11 sec ago
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Kiswa of Kaaba raised in preparation for Hajj

  • Up to 50 people worked on the raising of Kiswa this year
  • The Kiswa is replaced with white cloth during Hajj

DUBAI: The lower part of Kaaba’s Kiswa, the black cloth draped around the holy shrine, was raised 3 meters in preparation for the new Hajj season and was replaced with white cloth instead, Reasah Al-Harmain said on Friday.
The procedure is done every year before the Hajj season in order to protect the Kiswa, as some pilgrims touch and pull on the black cloth when they circumambulate the Kaaba.

Up to 50 technicians and specialists oversaw the annual process, head of the General Presidency of the Two Holy Mosques Ahmad bin Muhammad Al-Mansouri said.
What some pilgrims do to the Kiswa stems from wrongful beliefs, which is why the black cloth is raised and replaced with white textile during Hajj, he added.
The original Kiswa will be draped again after the Hajj season concludes, Al-Mansouri said.