A young Indian worker, whose dreams turned into a nightmare after he landed in visa troubles for no fault of his, returned home cradling his 40-day-old infant thanks to the general amnesty announced by Crown Prince Muhammad bin Naif.
The grief-stricken father traveled back home after he had buried his young wife who passed away three days after giving birth.
Mazharuddin and Ameera Banu, both hailing from the Indian city of Hyderabad, arrived in the Kingdom on employment visas more than a year ago, but they were not able to obtain residency permits as the employer was listed in the red category of the Nitaqat program, the Ministry of Labor’s grading system to determine the level of Saudization in the private sector.
Despite having no desire to end up on the wrong side of the law, the couple were forced by circumstances to be illegal residents in the Kingdom. In the meantime, Ameera Banu became pregnant adding to the couple’s woes.
No health insurance
Due to non-issuance of iqama, Ameera Banu was not able to receive health insurance and subsequently she did not get the necessary medical care she deserved during her pregnancy, according to family sources.
Since the couple were illegal residents, they could not invite any of their relatives to the Kingdom on visit visas to take care of the woman during her pregnancy and the delivery. Ameera Banu gave birth to Arhanuddin on Feb. 3, 2017, but she died in hospital three days after the delivery.
Already exhausted and saddened by the circumstances, his wife’s death came as a shock to Mazharuddin. Compounding the tragedy, her body could not be repatriated back home due to iqama-related issues so Mazharuddin had to bury her in Riyadh. Mazharuddin could not register his son’s birth in the Civil Affairs because his parents did not have residency permits.
Both parents must have valid iqamas and passports when they apply for the birth registration of non-Saudi babies born in the Kingdom. A notification of birth from the hospital has to be attached along with the form.
Upon receipt of the application with all relevant documents, the Civil Affairs Department in the Ministry of Interior will issue a birth certificate. Based on that the newborn baby will be issued residency permit in the dependent category. Mazharuddin intensified efforts to return home with his newborn baby and ran from pillar to post to make the arrangements, but to no avail.
However, the infant was issued an exit visa by the authorities on humanitarian grounds prior to the announcement of the general amnesty, but not the father.
Mazharuddin heaved a sigh of relief after the 90-day general amnesty was announced as part of “A Nation Without Violator” campaign allowing all irregular expatriates to leave the country without facing any punishment.
Mazharuddin recently returned home with the assistance of the Indian Embassy, leaving his bitter memories behind.
This article was first published in the Saudi Gazette on May 1, 2017.SHOW MORE