Illegal workers

90-days grace period starts, allows illegal workers to leave Saudi Arabia


Source: Arab News 

Illegal workers

SAUDI ARABIA is “perfectly ready” for the “A Nation Without Illegal Expatriates” national campaign. Starting Wednesday, undocumented / illegal workers in Saudi Arabia can go to nearest branch of the Passport Department to finalize their departure procedures.

“A special section has been designated for it at the General Services Center. The initiative was granted by the Interior Ministry for undocumented workers to correct their status and leave the country without penalties.

Overstayers following the 90-day grace period will risk paying fines. “Violators who don’t initiate correcting their status and get detained will be subject to enforcing the rules and regulations of the labor law and residency system,”.

Violating the residency system entails deportation, a prison sentence and fines. The fine can range between SR15,000 ($4,000) and SR100,000.

Those who have overstayed their visas for Haj, Umrah, visit or transit should go directly to a border point with a valid passport and confirmed travel tickets. If an “absent from work (escape or huroob)” notice has been issued, the violator will need to finalize the procedures in the local Expats Affairs Administration first.

Employers of holders of expired “resident identity” (iqama) who did not renew them before the announcement date of the campaign (March 19) shall issue a “final exit” visa online after paying all due fees and fines. Illegal workers should then leave the country.

Pilgrims who entered the country illegally should refer to the local Expat Affairs Administration to obtain a “final exit” visa before going to the designated passport center with their valid passport.

Illegal workers with valid iqama IDs, but who work for different employers or are self-employed and have an “absent from work (escape)” notice, should refer to the local Labor Disputes Committee to obtain a “proof of status” directed to the GDP. They should then refer to the local Expats Affairs Administration to obtain a “final exit” visa with their passport and iqama ID before leaving the Kingdom.

The Pakistani Consulate said it has made arrangements to assist “Pakistani community members who desire to avail the amnesty scheme announced by the Saudi government.”

A similar campaign took place in 2013 to legalize the status of undocumented workers. A 90-day amnesty was announced in April 2013 before the late King Abdullah extended the grace period to November 2013.
Interior Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Mansour Al-Turki said more than 2.5 million violators left the country under that campaign.

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