KSA goes tough on illegals

KSA goes tough on illegals
Updated 22 March 2013

KSA goes tough on illegals

KSA goes tough on illegals

Saudi Arabia has announced new measures at the Cabinet meeting chaired by Crown Prince Salman, second deputy premier and minister of defense. The Council of Ministers yesterday adopted a series of decisions to drive out illegal foreign workers who violate the Kingdom’s residency and labor regulations. The move also targets illegal coverup businesses. "The amendments to the residency law will yield positive results in terms of streamlining the labor market," said Ibrahim Al-Gorabi, a Saudi academician working for King Saud University (KSU), here yesterday.
During the meeting, Article 39 of the Labor Law was amended, preventing sponsors from allowing their employees to work for others.
The Cabinet took the decision on the basis of recommendations made by the Ministry of Interior on how to address the phenomena of foreigners working for firms and individuals other than their original sponsors and runaway domestic workers.
Al-Gorabi added that there are more illegal migrant workers in Saudi Arabia than any time in the past. The problem, he said, further compounds when a foreign worker deserts his sponsor and goes to work for another sponsor, if he or she is given a higher salary, said Al-Gorabi. He said that illegal workers also pose security as well as social problems.
Abdullah Al-Anazi, director general of the department to fight tasattur (cover up business) at the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, said foreigners involved in illegal cover-up businesses transfer more than SR 140 billion to their countries annually.
The majority of tasattur business takes place in the contracting sector (43 percent), followed by retail trade (19.2 percent) and general trade (16 percent). Exact figure of undocumented workers in the Kingdom is unavailable. According to one estimate, the number could reach two million.
The new decisions aim at reorganizing the Kingdom’s labor market and creating more job opportunities for Saudis. It also aims at strengthening the Kingdom’s security as illegal foreigners are behind many crimes including robbery, murder and drug trafficking.
“An employer is not allowed to let his worker works for others nor is he allowed to employ the workers of other sponsors,” the amended law said.
“This is a great decision,” said Dr. Abdul Rahman Al-Rabiah, a prominent Saudi businessman. “There are thousands of foreigners who do not work under their sponsors. Many of them engage in their own private enterprises illegally,” he told Arab News, adding that the Cabinet decision would help clean the market.
Al-Rabiah called for tough punishment for those who do not work under their sponsors. However, he called upon authorities to give qualified foreign workers a final chance to correct their situation “so that there will not be any excuse for them to break the law.”
Another Saudi, who requested anonymity, said the decision to drive away illegal expats would affect businesses in the country. “Many businesses have been depending on these workers who are readily available in the market for years,” he said while highlighting problems to get qualified workers. He indicated that non-availability of workers would shoot up prices of essential goods and services.
The Cabinet has instructed the Ministry of Labor to inspect facilities and investigate irregularities discovered by the inspectors, and then forward their findings to the Interior Ministry to apply penalties on the violators.
“The employer is not allowed to let his worker works for his own account, nor is the worker allowed to work for his own account,” the new law said. Foreigners involved in such illegal practices will be arrested and deported, the law warned.
The new law also applies to foreigners who have run away from sponsors, as well as employers of illegal workers, Saudis who shelter foreigner businesses and those who shelter and transport illegal workers.
This move was not supported by Refaat Karim, an Asian banker who said that the Ministry of Labor must streamline the labor sector first. Any move to detail illegal workers or workers holding valid residency permits (iqamas) but working for other sponsors will create an alarming shortfall in the labor market, Karim added. The government agencies, he said, must give an amnesty period to correct the status of the workers to enable them to stay with the sponsors for whom they are working. "According to Saudi law, once migrant workers leave their initial employers, they become illegal," he said.


SAF improving lives of autistic children in Saudi Arabia for years

SAF improving lives of autistic children in Saudi Arabia for years
Updated 47 sec ago

SAF improving lives of autistic children in Saudi Arabia for years

SAF improving lives of autistic children in Saudi Arabia for years
  • Arab News spoke to Prince Saud bin Abdulaziz bin Farhan Al-Saud, SAF’s chairman, to discover more about the charity’s efforts since its launch in 2009

JEDDAH: The Saudi-based Charitable Society of Autism Families (SAF) has been assisting families with autistic children and pushing for greater community inclusion for more than 10 years now. But while awareness of autism in the region has improved in that time, there remains a stigma around and lack of understanding of the condition in the Kingdom.

Autism, or Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), is a neurodevelopmental disorder that impairs a person’s ability to communicate or socialize with others. It can lead to a variety of seemingly anti-social behaviors, including a lack of desire to interact with other people, displays of apparent hostility, avoidance of eye contact, repetitive patterns of behavior, and more.

Arab News spoke to Prince Saud bin Abdulaziz bin Farhan Al-Saud, SAF’s chairman, to discover more about the charity’s efforts since its launch in 2009.

“With the right health care and resources, combined with family support, some of the children on the spectrum can gain the necessary skills to lead a ‘normal’ life and, in some cases, demonstrate special talents and capabilities not common in the wider population,” Prince Saud said. “We see many inspiring examples in our society and we regularly showcase these success stories.”

Autism is commonly diagnosed by the age of three and is more prevalent in males than females. The first studies of autism appeared in the 1960s, but less-severe varieties of autism were not identified until the 1980’s. Today, three types of ASD have been identified — each with specific characteristics that help doctors diagnose patients. They are autistic disorder, also known as classic autism; Asperger syndrome; and pervasive developmental disorders, also known as atypical autism.

Prince Saud said it is difficult to produce an accurate estimate of how many people in the Kingdom have ASD, due to the lack of sufficient studies. “However, according to the US CDC, 1 in 54 children — across all racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic groups — has been identified with ASD, meaning an approximate 1-2 percent of the global population is on the spectrum,” he said “This percentage might be applicable to the Kingdom.”

One of SAF’s most-common methods of raising awareness is through its series of public seminars, but it has recently also become more active on social media, in part because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Aside from its campaigning work, the society also helps arrange the provision of services including rehabilitation, educational development, guidance and assistance from other organizations for the families it supports, as well as a range of online offerings, including consultations, lectures and workshops, and rehabilitation services.

“We will continue our efforts to create a welcoming community in which autism is well understood so that those on the spectrum and their families can get the support they need,” Prince Saud said.

 


Saudi Arabia is a critical partner: US Yemen envoy

Saudi Arabia is a critical partner: US Yemen envoy
Updated 14 min 19 sec ago

Saudi Arabia is a critical partner: US Yemen envoy

Saudi Arabia is a critical partner: US Yemen envoy
  • Prince Khalid and Lenderking discussed diplomatic efforts and Saudi Arabia’s commitment to finding a solution to the conflict and supporting Yemenis

LONDON: Saudi Arabia is a critical partner of the US, the country’s envoy to Yemen said on Thursday in talks about resolving the conflict.

“The US recognizes the conflict in Yemen cannot be resolved without Saudi support,” Timothy Lenderking said after a meeting with the Kingdom’s Deputy Defense Minister Prince Khalid bin Salman.

Prince Khalid and Lenderking also discussed diplomatic efforts and Saudi Arabia’s commitment to finding a solution to the conflict and supporting Yemenis.

 


Saudi, Chilean ministers discuss agriculture ties

Saudi, Chilean ministers discuss agriculture ties
Updated 37 min 37 sec ago

Saudi, Chilean ministers discuss agriculture ties

Saudi, Chilean ministers discuss agriculture ties

RIYADH: Saudi Deputy Minister of Environment, Water and Agriculture Mansour Al-Mushaiti received the deputy minister of foreign affairs for international economic relations in Chile, Rodrigo Yanez, and his accompanying delegation in Riyadh.

They discussed strengthening economic partnerships and Saudi agricultural investment abroad, in addition to inviting the Saudi Agricultural and Livestock Investment Co. and Saudi investors to explore investment opportunities in Chile.

During the meeting, Al-Mushaiti affirmed the strength of economic relations between Saudi Arabia and Chile.

The two sides also reviewed aspects of bilateral cooperation, advantages and investment opportunities in Chile and its most prominent agricultural products.

The Saudi side welcomed the Chileans’ desire to increase the percentage of its products in the Saudi market and benefit from the Saudi desalination sector’s successful experiences.
 


Saudi health ministry widens vaccine program as 356 new cases reported

Saudi health ministry widens vaccine program as 356 new cases reported
Updated 44 min 28 sec ago

Saudi health ministry widens vaccine program as 356 new cases reported

Saudi health ministry widens vaccine program as 356 new cases reported
  • The Kingdom reported five new coronavirus-related deaths

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia will begin extending its coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine program beyond those with health conditions and the elderly, the health ministry said on Thursday.

Ministry spokesman Dr. Mohammed Al-Abd Al-Aly urged people to register for vaccination early, saying this will help both the public and the ministry.

While the focus is still on those aged 65 and over, the vaccine rollout will now be widened to include other segments of the population, he said.

The Saudi Food and Drug Authority has approved the Oxford/AstraZeneca and Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines, and is evaluating four other vaccines, spokesman Tayseer Al-Mufarij said.

A total of 639,587 people have been inoculated so far.

Al-Abd Al-Aly said that Taakad centers are still administering coronavirus tests, while anyone with possible symptoms can visit one of the specially equipped Tetamman clinics.

The clinics have received 2,008,083 patients, while 28,040,237 people have benefited from consultation services by calling ministry representatives on 937.

On Thursday, the Kingdom reported five new coronavirus-related deaths, lifting the toll since the pandemic began to 6,480.

A total of 356 new cases were reported, raising the number of those infected to 376,377. There are 2,574 active cases, with 473 in a critical condition.

“We are monitoring fluctuations in regions of the Kingdom. Some have seen an increase in cases while others have fewer cases. This shows we are not at a completely stable state yet. We must exert more efforts to feel at ease,” Al-Abd Al-Aly said.

According to the ministry, 180 of the newly recorded cases were in the Riyadh region, 80 in the Eastern Province, 37 in Makkah and 13 in Qassim. The rest of the regions reported cases in single figures.

A total of 308 recoveries brought the overall number in the Kingdom to 367,323.

Testing on 45,608 people lifted the overall number of conducted PCR tests to 13,509,412.
 


SDRPY launches locust control project in Yemen

SDRPY launches locust control project in Yemen
Updated 52 min 29 sec ago

SDRPY launches locust control project in Yemen

SDRPY launches locust control project in Yemen
  • The aim of the project is to protect vegetation and agricultural crops

ADEN: The Saudi Development and Reconstruction Program for Yemen (SDRPY) has launched the desert locust control project in Yemen in collaboration with the Saudi Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, and the Yemeni Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation.

The aim of the project is to protect vegetation and agricultural crops, and contain the damage that would be caused by desert locusts in Yemen.

SDRPY has provided logistical support to the project including five four-wheel drive vehicles, 100 backpack sprayers, 20 tons of pesticides, five spraying protective suits, 10 emergency bags, five pesticide spray devices for vehicles with a total capacity of 600 liters, five generators, and 10 tents.

In addition, SDRPY will work on transmitting expertise and knowledge to Yemeni cadres in the agricultural sector. These groups will look to protect vegetation from diseases in collaboration with the Yemeni government, local authorities, and specialized international agencies.

The project’s agricultural benefits are expected to have positive repercussions on living and economic conditions in Yemen.

SDRPY’s project is aiming to strengthen food security and protect agricultural production to achieve greater self-sufficiency in Yemen.