Expat woes: When banks freeze accounts on iqama expiration

Updated 05 July 2012

Expat woes: When banks freeze accounts on iqama expiration

When an expatriate’s residency permit (iqama) is about to expire, the bank they are dealing with starts to send messages asking them to update their data including a valid iqama number to prevent their bank account being frozen.
Troubles with the bank can continue if the iqama renewal is delayed for any possible reason — the sponsor’s commercial registration could have expired for instance.
Expatriate employees who receive their salary through bank transfer would not be able to withdraw money if the iqama has expired.
Saudi banking procedures say a bank account is frozen as soon as the client’s identification documents expire – both Saudis and expatriates.
When that happens, a client would not be able to withdraw money or renew the ATM card until they update their bank data, which requires a renewal of the identification card or residency documents.
However, the account case can still receive deposits.
Tal’at Hafiz, secretary general of the information committee for banking awareness, said Saudi banks do differentiate between Saudis and expatriates.
According to banking policies in Saudi Arabia, account freezing is applied on any client whose identification documents have expired.
He said: “The account must have credibility and legitimacy through the validity of the client’s documents. The banks communicate with the clients before their accounts are frozen.
“If the data is not renewed within 180 days after the freezing, then the account is closed after the client settles any outstanding dues to the bank.
“The accounts of expatriates who leave the country on a permanent exit visa are also closed.
“In this case, the expatriate has to present documents like an exit visa to be able to withdraw any money still in the frozen account.”
Several expatriates expressed resentment as their sponsors’ commercial registers had expired and they were not able to renew their iqamas. Their bank accounts are frozen and they would be unable to fulfil their financial commitments.
Abdulrahman Yousif, a Syrian working for an advertising company in Jeddah, said he has been waiting for an iqama renewal for the last six months but his sponsor’s commercial registration expired.
Yousif used to get his salary through bank transfers but now he cannot use his account and his bills are accumulating.
Saleh Al-Haj, a Sudanese working for a company in Jeddah, said his iqama renewal has taken four months so far.
His sponsor is out of the country and he is under pressure to pay the rent.
Ministry of Labor spokesman Hattab Al-Enizi said the employee is entitled to file a complaint if harmed by the owner of the sponsoring company, as it constitutes a breach of contract.
He said: “The complaint will be received by the Labor Office that will meet with the two parties and try to resolve the issue.
“If it is not solved, then the case will be referred to the Primary Commission for a final verdict, and if any of the parties appeals within a month, the matter will then be referred to the Supreme Commission whose verdict will be final.”


Global organizations commend Saudi Arabia’s role in e-learning

Updated 23 October 2020

Global organizations commend Saudi Arabia’s role in e-learning

JEDDAH: Six international organizations have completed two studies on e-learning in the Kingdom and praised its efforts in providing a rapid response, multiple options and continuous improvement during the coronavirus pandemic.
The studies involved the participation of 342,000 respondents and were conducted under the supervision of the Kingdom’s National Center for e-Learning.
The center said that the global organizations completed two comprehensive studies on the experience of public and higher education in Saudi Arabia during the pandemic, with the aim of documenting and studying the reality of the experience and coming up with initiatives to develop e-learning practices in accordance with current global practices and standards.
The studies were conducted with the participation of students, faculty members, teachers, parents and school leaders.
The number of participants in the public education study reached 318,000, while the number of participants in the higher education study reached 24,000.
The first study was prepared by the Online Learning Consortium (OLC), with the participation of the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE), Quality Matters (QM), the UNESCO Institute of Information Technologies in Education (IITE), the National Research Center for Distance Education and Technological Advancements (DETA) in the US.
The second study was prepared by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) with the cooperation of the Harvard Graduate School
of Education.
In the studies, reference comparisons were made with more than 193 countries. The two studies showed the Kingdom’s distinction in the diversity of options, including, for example, electronic content and satellite channels available for e-learning in public education.

NUMBER

342k

The studies on e-learning involved the participation of 342,000 respondents and were conducted under the supervision of the Kingdom’s National Center for e-Learning.

The percentage of countries that succeeded in providing these at the national level was only 38 percent.
The study conducted by the OECD and the Harvard Graduate School of Education included a comparison of the Kingdom’s response to education during the COVID-19 pandemic with 37 member states.
The results showed the Kingdom’s progress in 13 out of 16 indicators on the average of
these countries.
The study also revealed that teachers received significant support to overcome obstacles to e-learning.
The study of public education indicated that there was a clear strategy for the Ministry of Education to reopen schools in the Kingdom and address any issues.
OLC hailed the efforts of the Saudi Ministry of Education in dealing with the crisis by providing a variety of options for e-learning, and the quick response to the pandemic and immediate shift to remote instruction.
The two studies recommended 71 proposed development initiatives for public education and 78 proposed development initiatives for higher education.
The National Center for e-Learning is working in coordination with the Ministry of Education to present the initiatives and begin their implementation.
The center announced that the organizations that conducted the studies would publish their results and complete the second phase at the end of the current semester.