Saudi warns of fines, jail terms for visa lapses

The ministerial decision was issued by Interior Minister Prince Mohammed bin Naif bin Abdulaziz

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Saudi Arabia’s Interior Ministry issued Monday a decision to penalize people who employ foreigners illegally or break the terms of their visas, the state-run agency reported.

The ministerial decision issued by Prince Mohammed bin Naif bin Abdulaziz, the country’s interior minister, warned that punishment would range from fines and jail terms to confiscation of assets and deportation, the Saudi Press Agency said.

“A detailed table of penalties on those found violating the regulations of dealing with illegal expatriates was issued, including gradual fines up to SR100,000 [$26,670], imprisonment sentences up to two years, deprivation from importing new laborers up to five years, defaming in the media, imprisonment up to one year plus deportation of a foreign manager of a violating company and confiscation of the means of transportation used to violate the regulations,” the agency said.

Violators would be a given a grace period of no more than 30 days to appeal the verdict, SPA added.

The violations, according to the decision, include “an expatriate who runs a private business or overstays following the expiry of his entry visa.”

Those attempting to infiltrate the country through the border and any facilitators of such acts are also listed as well as business owners who enable “sponsored workers to work for others or themselves,” the agency said.

“An expatriate for whom the penalty was enforced on his employer or coverer-up will immediately be deported, the decision said, adding that no bail will be accepted,” according to SPA.

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