The labor and interior ministries will launch a major campaign shortly to drive out illegal foreign workers.
A joint committee will be formed to conduct field inspections to check workers who violate the Kingdom’s labor laws. “The campaign will cover all cities and streets of the Kingdom,” an informed source told Al-Watan Arabic daily. He said the move was aimed at finding surplus foreign workers in the country and take necessary action.
“The Labor Ministry is currently working out a new mechanism with the Interior Ministry to put an end to the phenomenon of surplus foreign workers who wander in the Kingdom’s streets looking for jobs,” he said. The campaign also aims at finding out companies that do not transfer salaries to the accounts of workers. “This shows they are either delaying payment of salaries or the workers are not in their sponsorship,” the source said.
The Committee of Experts in the Cabinet has done a study on changing the Labor Law to include clauses on how to deal with foreigners who violate regulations. “This move also aims at addressing the issue of surplus workers,” the source said.
According to Article 39 of the Labor Law, the Interior Ministry will arrest and deport those surplus workers who do not work for any company. It will also punish Saudi individuals and companies who employ such workers.
The new article also gives power to the Labor Ministry to inspect companies and institutions and investigate violations. “The Labor Ministry’s inspectors will hand over the violators to the Interior Ministry to take punitive action.”
The new move comes following the Labor Ministry’s efforts to regulate recruitment of foreign workers and create more job opportunities for Saudis.
According to the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency, remittances by expatriate workers in the Kingdom are expected to reach SR 128 billion, 16 percent more than the figure of 2011.
Most straying workers in the Kingdom are engaged in jobs Saudis do not like to do, Al-Watan said. Some Saudis sell job visas to foreign workers at high prices and ask them to pay part of their salaries every month. The Saudi sponsors allow these foreign workers to engage in various business and other activities, violating the Labor Law. Many people come to the Kingdom on Haj and Umrah visas and overstay their visas to work in the country. As a result of the Passport Department’s intense campaign and the Haj Ministry’s efforts, the number of these overstaying pilgrims has gone down considerably.