Foreigners marrying Saudi women to undergo drug tests

Updated 16 December 2016

Foreigners marrying Saudi women to undergo drug tests

RIYADH: As part of a move to impose tighter restrictions on foreigners willing to marry Saudi women, the Saudi government has made it mandatory for foreign nationals to undergo drug testing before marriage.
The new rules, endorsed by the government, will discourage marriages with foreign nationals, while ensuring that couples after marriage don’t face social problems because of drug addiction and intoxication.
The Ministry of Health (MoH) has instructed all hospitals and clinics around the Kingdom about this new rule.
Foreigners — men and women — willing to marry Saudis will be required to undergo medical examinations, and their reports will carry the information about the results of the drug test. This will be one of the eligibility conditions for foreigners taking Saudi brides or vice versa.
“In fact, a drug test has been added to the compulsory marital medical test for foreigners seeking marriage with Saudi women,” said Mishaal Al-Rabian, head of communications and PR at the MoH, on Wednesday.
He clarified that “the drug test is only for foreigners and, the test has been applied since the issuance of the circular a few months back.”
Al-Rabian’s clarifications reportedly came following rumors on social media that the MoH has started drug testing for citizens before marriage. Arab News could neither reach Al-Rabian, nor Abdullah Al-Shamrani of the ministry, for further information about the new rule.
But, Dr. Salem Al-Zahrani, who works for a private hospital in Riyadh, said “the mandatory drug test is a new provision added to the set of rules that define the terms and conditions of marriage between Saudis and foreigners.”
The new requirement will also help in subsequently decreasing the number of divorces, as well as cases related to marriage, inheritance and property, which have been piling up in Saudi courts.
According to a report published in Al Madinah Arabic daily, the drug test is mandatory for both foreign brides and grooms. As per the existing rules, a Saudi woman must be aged 30 to 55, if she wants to marry a foreigner. A Saudi man wishing to marry a foreign woman must be aged 40 to 65.
The 17-point charter of rules governing the marriages of Saudis with foreigners, announced in October, also imposes restrictions on a Saudi man marrying a non-Saudi woman. In this case, a Saudi man must earn SR3,000 per month, and he must own or rent an apartment or house.
The charter also makes it clear that the woman married to a Saudi man may or may not receive Saudi citizenship. Also, the existing rules for Saudi women planning to marry foreigners makes it clear that the age difference must not exceed 10 years.
It is also important to note that in this context, the trend of marriages between Saudis and non-Saudis are on upswing. The Ministry of Justice revealed the statistics early this year, saying that last year, the number of marriage contracts between Saudi men and non-Saudi women reached 3,596, while female Saudi marriage contracts with non-Saudi males totaled 3,352.
The report stated that the number of divorcees among Saudis in 2015 reached 40,000, representing almost a third of the marriage contracts during the same year, which is around 133,000 contracts.
Saudi Arabia is home for about 10.5 million foreigners, representing roughly one-third of the country’s population. Asians, South Asians, Arabs, Africans, Europeans, and Americans represent the bulk of the workforce of the country.


Saudi Arabia could return to extreme precautionary restrictions, minister warns

Penalties will be doubled upon repetition of the violation. (SPA)
Updated 14 min 38 sec ago

Saudi Arabia could return to extreme precautionary restrictions, minister warns

  • People not wearing masks will be fined

JEDDAH: The Kingdom could return to extreme precautionary restrictions if the number of COVID-19 patients exceeds the medical sector’s capacity, Saudi Arabia’s Health Minister Dr. Tawfiq Al-Rabiah warned on Saturday.
“Public awareness and adherence to precautionary measures is essential to continue the ease of restrictions,” Al-Rabiah said. “We continue monitoring the situation based on the number of critical cases in hospitals and their capacity to receive them. We want to be able to receive all cases that reach out to us and provide them with the care that they need. We are all in one boat in this situation, we are one team, and we must work together cautiously. Lack of commitment will definitely take us back to where we were.”
There were 1,618 new cases reported in Saudi Arabia, meaning that 83,384 people have now contracted the disease. There are currently 24,501 active cases.
The Health Ministry announced that 1,870 more patients had recovered from COVID-19, bringing the total number of recoveries to 58,883. More than 70 percent of coronavirus patients in the Kingdom have recovered from the disease.
There were 22 new COVID-19-related deaths reported on Saturday, raising the total number of fatalities to 480.
The ministry has assigned 30 health practitioners to carry out the third stage of an expanded examination plan to assess the prevalence of COVID-19 in the city of Makkah.

FASTFACTS

• 58,883 recoveries

• 24,501 active cases

The examination will take place at a center in the Al-Zaidi district, where citizens and expats will be tested inside their cars through 12 tracks without the need to leave their vehicles. The center has the capacity for over 1,000 tests daily and these will be carried out through appointments made on the ministry’s Sehaty app.
Adjustments to previously announced social distancing measures and regulations were announced by the Saudi Interior Ministry on Saturday. These include new violation penalties, as the second stage of restriction-easing starts on May 31.
Individuals who intentionally violate regulations will pay SR1,000 ($266). Breaches include not wearing a mask, not committing to social distancing marks and areas, refusing to undergo temperature checks at entrances, or not adhering to preventive protocols if their temperature is higher than 38 degrees Celsius.
Private sector establishments that are found to be noncompliant with new preventive measures and protocols will pay a penalty of SR10,000. Penalties will be doubled upon repetition of the violation.