Joy as king extends amnesty to Nov. 3

Updated 08 July 2013
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Joy as king extends amnesty to Nov. 3

Hundreds of thousands of expatriates and Saudis breathed a sigh of relief across the country yesterday as Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah extended the amnesty period until Nov. 3.
The royal order extending the original three-month amnesty, which ends today, was cited in a Ministry of Interior statement carried by the Saudi Press Agency.
The statement said the decree was issued taking into account recommendations from the Saudi ministries of foreign affairs, labor and interior.
The statement on the royal decree also cited the requests from various foreign embassies that had complained of the “pressure on their missions” from the large numbers of workers seeking to correct their status.
The statement said the decree was introduced to “make it easier on citizens and residents.”
There was also a warning issued by the Saudi government that there would be a crackdown on all illegal workers after the amnesty ends. The ministries of interior and labor urged all undocumented expatriates to correct their status.
The royal order comes amid uncertainty, with only one day left of the grace period issued earlier by King Abdullah.
Hundreds of thousands of undocumented expatriate workers, including overstaying pilgrims and workers who escaped from their employers, have corrected their status since the government announced the three-month grace period.
Among the countries with large numbers of undocumented workers in the Kingdom are India, Pakistan, the Philippines, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Egypt, Nepal and Yemen.
The Ministry of Labor said that with the new deadline, businesses should try to expedite the process of solving problematic cases involving their expatriate workforce.
The new concessions will also allow family members of an expatriate living legally in the Kingdom to work if they are 18 years or older, provided the family member has already spent two years or more with his or her family in the country, the ministry said.
 


Saudi Arabia urges global community to deter maritime trade disruptions

Updated 11 min 17 sec ago
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Saudi Arabia urges global community to deter maritime trade disruptions

DUBAI: Saudi Arabia said on Tuesday that Iran’s interception of commercial vessels, including its seizure of a British tanker, in Gulf waters was a violation of international law and urged the global community to deter such actions.
“Any disruption of the freedom of international maritime traffic is considered a violation of international law and the international community must do what is necessary to reject it and deter it,” the Saudi cabinet said in a statement carried on state media.
Iran said on Friday it had seized Britain’s Stena Impero tanker, which had been heading to a port in Saudi Arabia and suddenly changed course after passing through the Strait of Hormuz at the mouth of the Gulf.
Britain described the seizure as an act of “state piracy” and called for a European-led naval mission to ensure safe shipping through the world’s most important oil artery.