Illegal foreigners in Saudi Arabia have just 60 days left to legalise their status

Namrata Tripathi
Saudi Arabia national flag

Foreigners staying in Saudi Arabia without a legalised status have been warned that they just have 60 more days left to avail a grace period to regularise their situation in the kingdom.

Saudi Arabia Passport Directorate General Sulaiman Al Yahya on Thursday said the grace period for all the foreigners who are breaking residence and work permit rules will end in two months.

"All those who are breaking the rules regarding residence and work permits should quickly benefit of the royal order and pardons granted to them under a special programme," the General said. The grace period will end in two months. Foreigners keen on benefiting from it should contact any of the 75 centres across the kingdom to legalise their stay," he added.

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Illegal expatriates in the country were warned in March that they would have to pay fines of up to 100,000 riyals (Rs 17,10,000), if they failed to legalise their stay or leave the country within the 90-day amnesty period.

"This is a chance that may not come again for violators and they should seize it," Al Yahya said. "Under the amnesty, they are exempted from paying fines for breaking the law and from being fingerprinted which is used to bar deportees from re-entering the kingdom. Those who are caught following the amnesty will pay fines ranging from 15,000 to 100,000 riyals," he said.

Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Nayef

Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Nayef on March 19 had announced the "Nation Free of Violators" campaign to assist undocumented expatriates to regularise their status in the country, Gulf News reported.

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Under the amnesty, any foreigner who breaks the residency and work laws and regulations of the Saudi kingdom will be permitted to leave the country without paying any fines. The amnesty period of 90 days began on March 20.

Reports state that the violators can also come back later to the country to worlk legally, since they would not be subjected to the fingerprinting process under amnesty, which usually applies to deportees who are not allowed to return to the kingdom.

Saudi Arabia's General Authority for Statistics states that more than 12 million of the 32 million people who live in Saudi Arabia are foreigners. There are reportedly no figures available of how many of the 12 million population live in the country illegally.

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"Several government ministries and agencies are actively involved in the campaign and there will be no leniency towards violators," Al Yahya said.


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