Amnesty: Illegals can leave with no penalty



JEDDAH: P.K. ABDUL GHAFOUR

Published — Monday 25 February 2013

Last update 26 February 2013 2:00 am

| نسخة PDF Print News | A A

Expats without legal documents who have been stuck here for years have a golden chance to end their ordeal by benefiting from the amnesty announced yesterday.
Labor Minister Adel Fakeih announced the plan to clean up the labor market. According to it, undocumented foreign workers can leave Saudi Arabia on exit-only visas without being penalized.
Fakeih said this while opening a forum of Saudization committees at regional governorates. He said the forum was aimed at tackling the issue of excess foreign workers and violators of iqama and labor regulations. He defended the SR 2,400 levy, saying it was imposed to protect the nation’s interest.
“No iqamas and work permits will be issued to employees of Red Category firms,” he added.
The minister defended the SR 2,400 levy, saying it was imposed to protect the nation’s interest. “We believe that it would increase the chances of Saudi men and women getting more jobs.”
The Nitaqat system was instrumental in raising the number of Green Category companies from 30 to 60 percent. More than 500,000 Saudis have received jobs following the introduction of the Nitaqat system, he added.
Fakeih said the Interior Ministry backs labor inspectors by deploying police officers to carry out their mission effectively. The forum discussed how to track undocumented workers, punishments to be imposed on them and how to activate regional Saudization committees.
Indian Consul General Faiz Ahmad Kidwai welcomed the move by the Labor Ministry, and hoped illegal workers would make use of the offer.
“There are several Indian workers who face iqama-related problems,” Kidwai said. “Many of them find it difficult to renew their iqamas. Some of them could not even find their sponsors.”
He said the consulate would be ready to issue emergency certificates to those who want to leave the Kingdom.
“We’ll assign more staff members to issue such certificates,” Kidwai said.
Hesham Rowaihy, a management consultant, said the ministry’s move was aimed at balancing the Kingdom’s labor market and creating job opportunities for the increasing number of Saudi graduates.
“I hope the ministry would give such illegal workers some more time to correct their situation or leave the Kingdom on exit visas,” he told Arab News.
There are more than 1.1 million companies in the private sector. “Eleven percent of them do not exist as they were created just to get visas while 31 percent of them are involved in cover-up businesses and do not employ any Saudis,” Rowaihy said quoting a recent study.
He also defended the Labor Ministry’s decision to impose SR 2,400 levy, saying such taxes are imposed worldwide. “Each foreigner cost the Kingdom SR 5,390 every year because of subsidized services they get. This is one of the reasons we want to decrease the number of foreigners,” he said.
Rowaihy stressed the importance of adopting a succession plan by all private companies in order to gradually replace foreigners by Saudis without affecting their business. There are about eight million foreign workers in the Kingdom.
KTA Muneer, an Indian social worker, expressed his hope that the new Labor Ministry move would help some one million illegal workers leave the Kingdom.
According to one report, there are about 50,000 Indian huroob workers who have allegedly run away from their sponsors. The ministry has widened the concept of illegal workers, who include those who do not work under their sponsors or engaged in activities that are not mentioned in their iqamas or work contracts, he added.

What's happening around Saudi Arabia

KUWAIT: Kuwait has detained 26 people suspected of involvement in a suicide bombing on a Shiite mosque last month that killed 27 people, a local daily reported on Monday, quoting the public prosecutor.The June 26 attack by Daesh jolted Kuwait, raisin...
JEDDAH: A small fire broke out on the roof of the Grand Mosque on Monday morning, causing minor injuries to five people, including members of the Civil Defense, one security officer and three workers. The fire broke out at about 2 a.m. and covered an...
RIYADH: Mosques across the Kingdom will conduct midnight prayers (Qiyam Al-Layl) at 1.a.m beginning Tuesday to mark the beginning of the last 10 days of Ramadan.“The special prayers are conducted during the last 10 days of the holy month from 1 a.m.,...
JEDDAH: The director general of the Saudi Industrial Property Authority, Saleh Rasheed, has said that Sadeer Industrial City, which is regarded as one of the largest industrial cities in the Kingdom, possesses great capabilities that sets it apart as...
DAMMAM: Cheap and out of date cosmetics are causing serious health problems in the Kingdom, including skin diseases, hair loss and cancer, local doctors say.These products are often manufactured incorrectly or contain harmful fats, the doctors were q...
JEDDAH: Several young Saudis have started filming Jeddah’s historic district using cameras mounted on drones to gather professional 3D footage that can be used to build models and create virtual tours.Bandar Al-Mutlaq, owner of the Arab Foundation, w...
RIYADH: The Saudi capital is fully geared for this year’s Eid Al-Fitr celebrations that include an exciting bouquet of entertainment, heritage, sports, artistic and theatrical events.The annual Muslim festivities being organized here by the Riyadh mu...
JEDDAH: As part of its growing supervisory and investigative status, Riyadh Health Department’s forensics center examined 632 cases over the past eight months involving suspected murder, rape and abuse of women and children.Khaled bin Muhammad Hassan...
RIYADH: The Syrian Expatriates Medical Association (SEMA) expressed its thanks on Monday to Saudi organizations and individuals for donating to the campaign to help Syrians affected by the ongoing conflict.SEMA has 1,300 members in Syria and other co...
RIYADH: Inclusion of the Hail rock art in the UNESCO World Heritage List is proof of the Kingdom’s status and cultural profoundness, said the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTNH) on Monday.Reacting to the announcement of the fou...
JEDDAH: The Yemeni community has asked the Saudi government to extend the rectification process, which ends Tuesday, claiming that there are many thousands still seeking to get proper identification documents to qualify for work visas in the Kingdom....
JEDDAH: The Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs has set up 343 electoral constituencies for the Dec. 12 municipal council elections.This was done on the orders of Abdullatif Al-Sheikh, the minister and head of the General Committee for the Munici...
JEDDAH: Efforts are under way to electronically handle all Haj-related works to achieve speed and accuracy, as well as reduce costs an bring in transparency, Haj Minister Bandar Al-Hajjar has said.Speaking at a workshop in Jeddah on Sunday, Hajjar sa...
JEDDAH: The Board of Trustees of the King Abdullah International Foundation for Charity and Humanitarian Works on Sunday held its third meeting in Jeddah in the presence of Prince Khaled bin Abdullah, the board chairman, and Prince Miteb bin Abdullah...
RIYADH: The Ministry of Health has announced that six people were infected with the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) in the period from June 28 to July 6.The ministry has now recorded 1,045 cases of MERS since June 2012, with 5...

Stay Connected

Facebook