Working in Saudi Arabia is becoming a pain for expatriates particularly when contradictory information keeps flowing in day in and day out. First, there was this announcement in the local newspapers about fingerprinting of all expatriates, including their families, compulsory. What followed was utter panic. It was well-known that the finger printing process had begun almost a year back and was being implemented in phases. What added to the confusion was the deadline of 25th May.
Long queues could be found in passport offices all over the kingdom to beat the rush before the holiday season began. News started flowing in almost on a daily basis. Expatriates, particularly those with families, were the most nervous. I personally know friends who were on the lookout for those 'mobile' units, desparate to have their families fingerprinted. Industrial Security Departments in companies were flooded with enquries. The tension in the air was quite palpable. Then came the announcement that fingerprinting was required only for males above 18 years old and that children under dependent iqamas need not be fingerprinted.
It appears that finally good sense prevailed. There was this announcement saying that no fines would be imposed and that the 25th May deadline was only a "rumour" (amazing how people contradict themselves!) The latest is that companies have been allocated certain specified days in which their employees must go to the designated passport offices and have themselves fingerprinted. One never knows whether the last word in the matter has been spoken. After all, the only thing certain in Saudi Arabia is uncertainty!
Readers might be wondering what ever happened to the request form which appeared on top of this blog. My friend Deepa Govind, the highly skilled and reputed software / VA expert, is helping me redesign this blog and a few technical glitches are being resolved before the form would be re-introduced. Do keep watching this space.