Deported expats will be barred entry to Saudi Arabia

Foreign illegal laborers wait in a long queue outside the Saudi immigration offices at the al-Isha quarter of the al-Khazan district, west of Riyadh, on May 28. (File Photo: AFP)

Any expatriate who will be deported after the expiry of the grace period will be blacklisted and prevented from entering the Kingdom again in future, according to the Passports Department.

The Department of Expatriate Affairs is ready to accommodate any number of expatriate workers who get arrested after the grace period.

Lt. Col. Ahmed al-Lehaidan, spokesman, dismissed reports that some employers who wanted to renew or issue new residencies for their employees faced difficulty paying SR20,000 ($5,332) through the Sadad system.

The directorate is currently working on designing a new mechanism through which employers can renew the residency of their employees online though Abshir e-services, Lt. Col. al-Lehaidan added.

If a dependent has been deported, his relatives won’t be affected because only those who violate residency laws will be deported, he noted. The directorate won’t send away any expatriate worker who has been sentenced or pardoned before. “Deportation decisions will only be issued by pertinent authorities that have the power to do so.”

He confirmed that the directorate will, after the grace period, launch non-stop campaigns covering all roads, neighborhoods, regions of the Kingdom including malls, factories, etc. As for hospitals and schools, pertinent authorities will inspect these facilities.

With the grace period fast coming to an end, there are no official updated statistics about the number of expatriate workers who have corrected their residency status. The only statistics out was the one published by the Labor Ministry in the eighth week of the grace period, which stated that 1,581,227 workers had corrected their status.

It is a worrying time for the workers, most of whom are from India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, the Philippines and Indonesia, but with some from Yemen and Egypt too. They are fearful of the campaign of arrests promised by authorities once the amnesty expires.

According to official statistics, eight million expatriates work in the Kingdom.

The new Labor Ministry regulations aim to reduce the number of foreign workers to create jobs for millions of unemployed Saudis.

Although the country has the largest Arab economy, its unemployment rate is above 12.5 percent. Authorities have warned employers who continue to shelter illegal workers that they risk up to two years in prison.

This article was originally published by Saudi Gazette on Monday July 02, 2013.

Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:41 - GMT 06:41