1 million expats expected to leave Saudi Arabia under amnesty plan

Foreign workers gather outside Saudi immigration department as they try to get visas and legalise their work situation, in this November 3, 2013 file photo, in Riyadh. (AFP)
Updated 18 April 2017

1 million expats expected to leave Saudi Arabia under amnesty plan

RIYADH: With 70 days to go before the end of the campaign of targeting residency and labor violators, preliminary results are already “positive,” according to officials from the General Directorate of Passports and Ministry of Labor and Social Development.
The campaign is helping violators leave the country without facing fines or penalties for violating regulations. Expats are also exempt from the exit fingerprint requirement, allowing them to return to the Kingdom at a later date legally.
Nineteen government entities are participating in the “A Nation without Violators” campaign, which is seeking to help at least 1 million violators leave the country during the three-month grace period. The campaign, which initially was launched four years ago, has facilitated the departure of more that 5.5 million illegal expats.
Via its Twitter account, the General Directorate of Passports has reached out to violating expats in Urdu, English, Indonesian, Arabic and other languages to inform them in daily tweets about how they can take advantage of the campaign that launched on March 29.
The campaign has resulted in large numbers of violators attending to Passports’ location. Nearly 80 locations received illegal expats across the 13 provinces daily. The locations are distributed between 10 in Riyadh, seven in Quasimodo, 12 in Makkah, two in Al-Baba, three in Asir, four each in Madinah and the Northern Border region, two in Jazan, three in Hail, five in Najran, four in Al-Joudeh, six in Tabuk, and 16 in the Eastern Province.
Ministry of Interior spokesman Maj. Gen. Mansoor Al-Turki said various government agencies are working together to ensure the success of the campaign through joint inspections with security agencies.
Turki Al-Manea, general director of the branch of the ministry of labor and social development in Qassim, said the campaign will likely lead to the exit of at least 1 million violators. He noted that this is the second campaign of its kind carried out in the Kingdom in recent years. The same campaign was first launched in 2013 targeting illegal residents and expats working in jobs different to those they were recruited for. The status of nearly 3 million expats was corrected at the time.
He said the campaign “would revive the economies of companies and establishments and protect small businesses and projects from illegal expats, while also reducing unemployment rates and creating a safe economic and social environment.”
Mohammed Al-Sayegh, director general of Passports in Ar Rass, said on Sunday that the exemption applies to fines and other penalties during the three-month grace period, as well as the fingerprints for deported violators. He said many expats have turned themselves in and departed the kingdom already.
The Labor Ministry, in coordination with public security, held a meeting with recruitment companies in the Saudi market recently to discuss their roles in the campaign.
Adnan Al-Naim, undersecretary of the ministry, said recruitment companies play a very important role in the Saudi market, with the 30 companies having 440 offices distributed throughout the Kingdom. These companies have a 70 percent nationalization rate and very low rates of violations, he said.
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Naif urged violators to “take advantage of the opportunity during the allotted grace period, and for all to cooperate in achieving the campaign’s goals.”
He also instructed “involved parties to facilitate the departure of violators during the period and exempt them of penalties.”


Preserving heritage means securing the future, says Princess Haifa

Updated 05 July 2020

Preserving heritage means securing the future, says Princess Haifa

  • Saudi Arabia is at the 209th session to discuss international issues related to the fields of education, science and culture

PARIS: Princess Haifa bint Abdul Aziz Al-Muqrin, the Kingdom’s permanent representative to UNESCO, said that changes can only be faced with global efforts to achieve the common goals of promoting peace, building cultural bridges between nations, and empowering societies to guarantee a better future.

Saudi Arabia recently participated in the 209th session of the UNESCO Executive Council at the agency’s Paris headquarters. The Kingdom was represented at the session by Princess Haifa and a team of 26 Saudi experts from different sectors that have activities related to the scope of UNESCO’s work, such as education, culture, energy, environment, and training.

Princess Haifa said: “Despite our different cultures and languages, we share our belief that education is a right for everyone, that preserving heritage means securing the future, and that innovation and science are the bridge that will pull us out of this pandemic the world today is living.”

She said that the Kingdom supported African countries and was ready to share its experiences in various UNESCO fields, in addition to supporting action plans related to developing islands as one of its priorities in exchanging experiences, especially since the Kingdom is one of the most advanced countries in the world in the field of water desalination.

Reference was made to the Kingdom’s support for international growth and stability through the G20 presidency, specifically with regard to ensuring the continuity of education in crises, the continuation of efforts to achieve climate adaptation worldwide, and solidarity with the members of the G20 in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.

As a member state of the UNESCO Executive Council, Saudi Arabia is at the 209th session to discuss international issues related to the fields of education, science and culture. These will be evaluated and decided upon, and the executive decisions assigned to them will be voted on, in cooperation with the council’s member states.

The Kingdom’s participation in the meetings of the UNESCO Executive Council also comes as part of its permanent presence in the international cultural and educational organization since its foundation in 1946.