KSA toughens stance on illegals

Updated 16 April 2014
0

KSA toughens stance on illegals

Saudi Arabia on Monday announced tough punishment for expats violating the country’s residency, labor and business regulations. Punishment includes fines up to SR100,000, a jail term for up to two years, a recruitment ban and deportation.
The move targets foreigners who have come to the Kingdom on work, visit, Haj and Umrah visas, and have overstayed their visas, the Interior Ministry said.
“Punishment will be increased depending on the number of violations and individuals involved, while violating expats will be deported and prevented from entering the Kingdom for a specific period,” the ministry said in a statement. “Those arrested for violations will not be released, even on bail.”
Administrative panels at the Passport Department will determine the violations.
“People will have the right to appeal against the panel’s decision to the interior minister within 30 working days following the issuance of the decision,” the statement said. A special legal panel at the ministry will look into such appeals and provide the minister with their proposals.
Expats working independently will be fined SR10,000 and deported if the violation is committed for the first time, while second-time offenders will be fined SR25,000, jailed for one month and deported and third-time offenders will incur a SR50,000 fine, a six-month jail and deportation, the statement said.
Expats overstaying their visas after they have expired for the first time will be fined SR15,000 and deported, while second-time offenders will be liable to pay SR25,000, spend three months in jail and face deportation.
Third-time overstayers, meanwhile, will incur a SR50,000 fine, a six-month jail term and deportation.
Saudis and expats have welcomed the ministry’s statement, saying it would strengthen the Kingdom’s security and stability.
“The Interior Ministry’s decision compliments the Labor Ministry’s efforts to flush out illegals and regulate the labor market,” said Ibrahim Badawood, managing director of ALJ Community Initiatives.
“The punishments issued by the ministry show that they are very serious on the issue. The punishment covers not only expats, but also companies and individual employers,” he said. “Now, employers will think twice before hiring or sheltering an illegal expat,” Badawood said.
He said the government’s move would also address the “tasattur” (cover-up businesses) phenomenon and other illegal activities.
“Some sponsors have recruited many expats and they don’t know what their workers are doing. This is a serious issue and the new punishments will definitely reduce such illegal operations,” he said.
The ministry said intruders held outside the border will be fined SR15,000 and deported after serving a one-month jail sentence. Second time violators will be fined SR25,000, jailed three months and deported, while third-time or more offenders will have to pay SR100,000 fine and serve six months in jail before deportation.

Those who transport, employ and shelter intruders will be fined SR25,000, jailed for six months and deported if expats.
Their vehicles will be seized if the violation is committed for the first time. Second-time violators will be fined SR50,000, jailed for one year, deported, shamed and have their vehicle confiscated, while third-time offenders will be liable to pay a SR100,000 fine, face a two-year jail and be deported.
The ministry said all those who transport, shelter or employ violators of the Kingdom’s laws will be fined SR15,000 and deported (if expat); second-time violators will be fined SR30,000, deported and jailed for 3 months. Third-time offenders, meanwhile, will pay a SR100,000 fine and serve a six-month jail sentence before being deported.
An individual employer who allows his workers to work for others or for their personal accounts will be fined SR15,000 and deported (if expat) and prevented from recruitment for one year. For the second-time violators, the punishments are: a SR30,000 fine, deportation, three-month jail and ban on recruitment for two years; third time and more: SR100,000 fine, deportation, six-month jail and ban on recruitment for five years.
Expats who fail to report delays in the departure of overstaying employees will be fined SR15,000 and face deportation (if expat) for the first time, SR25,000, jail for three months and deportation the second time, and SR50,000, a six-month jail term and deportation the third time.
The ministry said that companies and organizations that fail to inform authorities about Haj or Umrah overstayers would be fined SR25,000 the first time round, SR50,000 the second time and SR100,000 the third time round or any time after that.
Meanwhile, institutions that employ intruders will be fined SR50,000 the first time such an offense is committed, in addition to being banned from recruiting employees for an entire year. The manager will be jailed for six months and deported if he is an expat.
Second time offenders will incur a SR75,000 fine and a recruitment ban for two years, in addition to the manager being jailed for one year and deported. Third time offenders will be liable to pay SR100,000 fine, face a recruitment ban for five years and face a two-year jail term and deportation.
Institutions that employ violators of residency and labor laws or allow their workers to work for other employers, independently or employ employees from other companies will be fined SR25,000, banned from recruitment for a year and have the expat manager deported; second time SR50,000 fine, recruitment ban for two years with shaming, and the manager will be jailed for six months and deported; and third time and more: SR100,000 fine, recruitment ban for five years with shaming and the manager will be jailed for a year and deported.


Website launched to support housing project in Saudi Arabia

The Ministry of Commerce and the Ministry of Housing are working together to provide the necessary services for citizens from different social classes. (SPA)
Updated 31 min 36 sec ago
0

Website launched to support housing project in Saudi Arabia

  • Real estate financing for January hit SR4.7 billion, and coming months were expected to see even bigger figures, Al-Hogail told Reuters news agency on the sidelines of a housing conference in Riyadh

RIYADH: A new website has been set up to support a housing project for 10,000 units in the Kingdom.
Housing Minister Majid Al-Hogail, and Commerce and Investment Minister Majid Al-Qassabi on Sunday launched Benaa Housing, which will help construction companies and contractors contribute to a development program in the Kingdom.
Benaa Housing aims to speed up the process of building 10,000 housing units in various parts of Saudi Arabia by enabling small and medium enterprises in the construction sector to access and contribute to projects and opportunities. The estimated cost of the project is SR3.5 billion ($910 million).
“The Ministry of Housing is always keen to provide adequate housing, solutions, and services suitable to all families, especially the beneficiaries of the Housing Development Program in all regions of the Kingdom,” Al-Hogail said.
Al-Qassabi said the new platform would generate more business opportunities for small and medium enterprises and provide suitable apartments for middle-class and lower-income families.
“The Ministry of Commerce and the Ministry of Housing are working together to provide the necessary services for citizens from different social classes and groups, and the new platform is the fruit of these efforts,” he added.
Earlier this month, the housing minister said he expected investments in the real estate financing sector to reach between SR60 billion and SR80 billion this year.
Real estate financing for January hit SR4.7 billion, and coming months were expected to see even bigger figures, Al-Hogail told Reuters news agency on the sidelines of a housing conference in Riyadh.
Saudi home ownership was growing between 6 and 7 percent annually, he said, adding that he hoped to raise home ownership to 15,000 new households per month by 2020, from a little over 10,000 per month now.
The ministry aims to increase housing ownership through policy and stimulating the private sector, according to its website.
The challenges facing the ministry are the limited availability of suitable units for all parts of the population; difficulty in accessing adequate housing finance; the inefficiency of the real estate sector and heavy reliance on government funding.
“Even though 47 percent of Saudi families already own their homes, we aim to increase this rate by 5 percentage points by 2020,” the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 reform plan states. Vision 2030 also aims to speed up construction and provide Saudis with high-quality, competitively priced housing, and to stimulate localization of the country’s construction industry.