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 bans livestock imports from Sudan and Djibouti over RVF fears

Updated 33 min 28 sec ago

Saudi Arabia bans livestock imports from Sudan and Djibouti over RVF fears

  • Sample from one livestock shipment arriving from Djibouti was found positive of Rift Valley fever
  • Livestock imports from Somalia had earlier been banned, says Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture

JEDDAH: The Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture has announced a ban on importing livestock from Sudan and Djibouti.

The ministry said the ban is a response to the announcement of World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) concerning documented cases of Rift Valley fever (RVF) in Sudan. 

In addition, a sample from one livestock shipment arriving from Djibouti was positive and thus was not cleared.

According to the ministry, Saudi Arabia imported 5 million heads of cattle from Sudan and 700,000 from Djibouti during the last Hijri year, prior to the ban.

The spokesman for the ministry, Abdullah Abalkhail, said that alternative sources include GCC, Jordan, Uruguay, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Australia, New Zealand, Pakistan, Georgia, Portugal, Hungary, Kazakhstan and Romania, as well as Chinese Mongolia, Argentine, Brazil and the US.

These countries can hardly compete with African states, said Al-Jadani, due to prices, different weather and customer demand. 

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Humaid Al-Jadani, a livestock merchant and a former member of the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce livestock committee, said 5 ships were about to arrive carrying up to 50,000 heads of cattle when the ban was announced, but were turned back.
  • He said that the Saudi market depends heavily on imports from Africa, specifically Sudan and Djibouti.
  • Prices have risen during the past two days by 30 percent and further rises are expected, said Al-Jadani.
  • Official reports from Sudan say that at least 135 cases of rift valley fever were documented in Sudan, in Kassala, Red Sea and northern Darfur. 

The domestic livestock, he added, covers the demand of a very low percentage of the market and the price of local sheep are very high.

All shipments are examined at their point of arrival and only healthy animals are allowed into the local market.

 

Regulations

The ministry has already banned livestock imports from Somalia.

“The ministry studies each country individually to put health regulations in line with the OIE and we follow up daily reports from the OIE to reduce the spread of the diseases among animals and people,” Abalkhail said.

Humaid Al-Jadani, a livestock merchant and a former member of the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce livestock committee, said five ships were about to arrive carrying up to 50,000 heads of cattle when the ban was announced, but were turned back.

He said that the Saudi market depends heavily on imports from Africa, specifically Sudan and Djibouti.

According Al-Jadani, prices have risen during the past two days by 30 percent and further rises are expected in the coming period.

The ministry has called on those working in the sector to contact officials on the hotline 8002470000 if they find any suspicious cases.

A fine up to SR1 million ($267,000) will be imposed on any company contravening the ban.

Official reports from Sudan say that at least 135 cases of RVF were documented in Sudan, in Kassala, Red Sea and Northern Darfur. According to the World Health Organization Sudan witnessed a huge RVF outbreak in 2007, while in Saudi Arabia RVF spread back in 2000.

The World Bank noted previously that six zoonotic diseases between 1997 and 2009 have led to a loss of $80 billion.

Officials believe that only through collaboration between various authorities in the health, biology and environment sectors the disease can be controlled.