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Saudi Arabia warns expats to fix visa status

Saudi Arabia follows GCC

Labour crackdown will resume on November 4.

October 10, 2013 3:00 by

Ahead of a planned crackdown scheduled next month, Saudi Arabia has, once again, warned its foreign workers to ensure that their visas are in order or face possible deportation.

The crackdown is part of a larger scheme to tackle high unemployment rates among Saudi nationals by reducing the number of illegal workers in the kingdom. It will resume on November 4, after a seven-month grace period.

The Ministry of Labour said on Tuesday that it would form inspection teams to raid companies, while Ministry of Interior officials will check papers on the street.

As part of a series of reforms in the past two years, the kingdom has tried to free up jobs for its own citizens, 12 per cent of whom are unemployed. The figure does not include the much larger number of people who are jobless but not looking for work. Companies failing to meet their quotas for local hires will face fines and hiring restrictions.

Last month, Arab News reported that 5.3 million foreign workers had put their papers in order since April, while officials have stated that several thousands of them left the country during that time.

Last November, the government introduced a levy of SAR2,400 on each expat employed by a company over the number of nationals it employs. The ‘Nitaqat’ law makes it mandatory for local companies to hire one Saudi national for every ten migrant workers.

Saudi Arabia’s attempts to reform its expatriate-heavy labour market have put more than 600,000 locals in jobs at private companies.

According to Reuters, a text message sent to mobile phones in Saudi Arabia on Monday read: “The deadline to correct visa status is approaching. Quickly rectify your situation to avoid punishment after November 4.”

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