Confusion prevails at deportation centers

Confusion prevails at deportation centers
Updated 28 May 2013

Confusion prevails at deportation centers

Confusion prevails at deportation centers

Expats trying to leave the country or legalize their work status before the July 3 deadline are experiencing difficulties across the Kingdom.
Expatriates and foreign diplomatic missions are in a state of confusion due to discrepancies between Ministry of Labor guidelines and deportation centers.
The three-month grace period began on April 6, but guidelines were only issued by the Ministry of Labor on May 13 and biometric recording on May 19 in Jeddah.
With 37 days remaining for the grace period to expire, the biometric process has thus far only begun in Riyadh and Jeddah.
Passport offices are maintaining regular working hours although they are tasked with legalizing the status of workers, resolving runaway cases, transferring sponsorship and updating information. Deportation centers in Jeddah and Riyadh, on the other hand, are working overtime although they have the sole task of recording biometric data.
Thousands of expatriates visit passport and deportation centers in Buraidah daily to meet the deadline. Buraidah, the provincial capital of Qassim, is home to the sponsors of numerous Asian expatriate workers who are working for employers other than their sponsors and who have moved to larger cities such as Riyadh, Jeddah and Dammam.
Finger-printing for expatriates with residency permits wishing to leave the Kingdom finally began 10 days ago in deportation centers in Riyadh and Jeddah. Yet the slow pace at these two deportation centers is causing huge queues and delays. The recent power outages at passport offices in Abha and Madinah saw work halted for an entire day.
In Jeddah, the deportation center has allocated specific days for all major nationalities to report for biometric scanning.
In Riyadh, scanning is being carried out on any day of the week for those approaching deportation centers with passports or emergency certificates and iqama numbers.
With the summer season coinciding with the July 3 deadline, passport offices are inundated with requests from Saudis and expats to update their travel documents as early as 6 a.m.
The passport office at Abruq Al-Ruqma is open exclusively for domestic workers and yet overcrowding and stampeding have been the inevitable result of small premises and high volume.
Col. Badar Al-Malik, a spokesman for the Director-General of Passport Control in the Kingdom, has told local media sources that "there is no need for passport offices to work during the evening. Passport offices operate differently from the Ministry of Labor. Each has its own criterion and it is illogical to link the two.”