Saturday, October 27, 2007

Emergency Exit / Re-entry visa

Many of the readers are interested in the formalities pertaining to Exit / Re-entry visa into the kingdom. This has been covered earlier in this blog. This post is to give information on a different kind of exit / re-entry visa. This one is called " Emergency Exit / Re-entry visa ".
As the name implies, this visa is issued only on extreme emergencies. Expatriates working in Saudi Arabia usually have a multiple exit / re-entry visa with them just to cover such emergencies. In the unfortunate event of you not having such a multiple visa, you would be under severe mental tension. Please note that Thursdays and Fridays are Government holidays in the kingdom. Also, the passport offices are closed for rather long stretches of time twice a year - 2 weeks for Eid Al-Fitr and 2 weeks for Eid Al-Adha. If you do not have a multiple visa and you are caught in an emergency situation on such days where you have to necessarily leave the kingdom immediately, there is a special provision called emergency exit / re-entry visa.
There is an officer of the Saudi Government's Passport Department stationed 24 hours in all the 3 international airports of the kingdom. His job is to issue such emergency visas. However, there is a catch. This visa is issued only for 15 days. This means that you have to re-enter the kingdom with 15 days from the date of departure, otherwise your visa would be cancelled. Also, for issuing such an emergency visa, your sponsor or the Government Relations Officer of your company must personally come to the airport with you and sign a declaration form, without which this visa would not be issued.
Usually, every company in Saudi Arabia has a liaison officer called 'Government Relations Officer'. His job is to interact with all governmental work concerning the employees in his company. Make sure that you have his phone number with you all the time. In case this man is on leave or on vacation, then ensure that you have his deputy's number.
Of course, the safest way out is to have a multiple visa, but this procedure is for those who do not have one.
If you liked the information given here, do drop in your comments, which would motivate me to write further.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Working women in Saudi Arabia

Working in Saudi Arabia could be a challenge, particularly for women. Unfortunately, only a few professions are open for working women. Teachers, Doctors, Nurses and house maids are a few of those jobs which women are allowed to work. Usually, working women find it easier if their husbands also work in the same city. For those who are not accompanied by their husbands, life could be quite uncomfortable.

Driving by women is prohibited in the kingdom. Hence, commutation could be a problem because you are dependent on some one else to drive you around. Usually, single working women stay together in the same apartment. They enter into a private arrangement with some transporter or their sponsor takes care of their transport to work.

Many teachers do part-time jobs at home taking tuitions. Qualified teachers are in great demand in the kingdom and private tuitions for the kids is big business. Some women also do translation work sitting from the comfort of their homes. There are also painting classes, music classes, etc., by women but all of these are strictly on one to one basis as a private arrangement.
House maids have a tough work cut out for themselves. Some countries have prohibited their nationals from working as maids in Saudi Arabia due to fleecing and physical abuse by their sponsors. Of course, there are good sponsors who treat their maids properly, but in majority of the cases they are not.
There is almost no social life for single working women in Saudi Arabia. Those with their husbands also visit other families for social interaction as there is not much by way of entertainment. However, on a short-term perspective, particularly for doctors and nurses, expatriate working women can save quite some money as they are paid reasonably well.