400,000 Yemeni expats in Saudi Arabia wait for status correction

Yemeni Charge d’Affaires in Riyadh Zain Al-Qiaiti said the Saudi leadership has “proved that they are real friends of Yemen and its people”

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More than 400,000 Yemenis who have been staying illegally in the Saudi Arabia are waiting for their statuses to be rectified as ordered by King Salman.

Yemeni Charge d’Affaires in Riyadh Zain Al-Qiaiti appreciated the King’s gesture and said the Saudi leadership has “proved that they are real friends of Yemen and its people”.

He said the embassy would spare no effort to help illegal Yemenis correct their residence status but asked his citizens to be patient until the mechanisms for execution of the plan were formulated.

He said: “The number of illegals is large. The embassy does not have enough passports to issue to them.”

Under the King’s directives, Yemeni expatriates will be granted six-month visit visas that can be extended upon receiving travel documents from their country’s legitimate government.

According to the Saudi Press Agency (SPA), undocumented Yemenis should be allowed to work in accordance with regulations set by the authorities.

This procedure shall be effective for two months from the date of the residence status correction, it said.

The ambassador said the embassy is working closely with concerned officials at the Interior Ministry to implement the King’s instructions but warned this may take some time.

“We will soon inform the Yemeni nationals about the date when the correction procedures will start,” he said.

Al-Qiaiti said the correction would be made in two phases: the first for Yemenis with expired passports and the second for those who do not have passports at all.

He asked all the Yemenis applying for residence status correction to bring their identity documents with them to prove they are Yemeni nationals.

Meanwhile, a large number of Yemenis went to their consulate in Jeddah on Sunday but found it closed because of International Workers’ Day.

Ali Al-Iayashi, the consul general, said the expired passports will be extended and those with no passports will be issued with new ones.

He said after doing this the consulate would give them a letter to the Directorate General of Passports (Jawazat) to correct their residence status.

This article was first published in the Saudi Gazette on May 5, 2015.