Saturday, June 27, 2009

Important announcements by Saudi Government

The Government of Saudi Arabia has made some important announcements in the past few days. As usual, your favourite blog is the first one to release this information.
The Saudi Government has issued directives on the procedures to be taken by expatriates in case of loss of passports, iqamas, driving licenses, birth certificates and car number plates.
In case you lose your passport or iqama, it must immediately be reported to the nearest Passport office. Note that if you do not report this loss within 24 hours, there is a fine of SR1000 in the first instance, SR2000 in the second instance and SR3000 in the third instance. You must also inform the police in case of criminal cases of document theft.
Loss of birth certificate must be reported to the nearest branch of Civil Status department. If you lose either your driving license or your istemara, it must immediately be reported to the nearest Traffic Police branch, whereas loss or theft of car number plates must be reported to the police station. Note that these two are different.
Expatriates owning cars must note this important point. In case your istemara is going to be renewed, new number plates are issued by the traffic police. As you may be aware, the new number plates have both Arabic and English letters and numerals. For getting the new number plates, you must first remove the existing number plates. Most cars have the existing number plates welded or screwed very tightly and it is quite common to have them removed in a nearby garage. So, for the duration of travel from the garage to the traffice police (after removing the existing number plates), and from the traffic police to the garage (for fixing the new number plates), you would be driving your vehicle without a number plates. You must be extremely careful in this period not to lose your number plates and must also ask for divine help that no cop must catch you in this period!
There is another very important announcement by the Saudi Government for expatriates planning to work in Saudi Arabia. With effect from 26th June, 2009, all expatriates going for employment / residence in Saudi Arabia MUST have themselves vaccinated for Cerebral Meningitis. You cannot have yourself vaccinated by any doctor / hospital, it must be done only by a GCC panel doctor. Before boarding the flight, you MUST have this certificate issued by a GCC panel doctor. Note that you face a risk of being deported soon after you land in Saudi Arabia, if you do not have this certificate.
On another note, I will shortly be publishing the form for those of you who request paid personal consultancy. I am currently sorting out some technical issues and once I am through with it, it would be published here. Please do not use the comment link below for making such requests, I cannot entertain them due to my current workload.
Of course, this blog would be the first to come out with any issue which affect the expatriates working in Saudi Arabia in any way.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Fingerprinting mess

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.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Personalized consultancy


Here is the procedure for those requiring my paid consultancy services:


1. All payments must be made only through Paypal, a highly secure and trusted website, used by millions of people around the world. Please login to www.paypal.com and sign up. Registering with Paypal is free of cost and easy. You need a credit card to make payment. In case you do not have a credit card, you can also use your friend's credit card. You do not need to reveal the card number to me.


2. After registering with Paypal, please login and click on 'Send Payment' link. In the 'To' field, please type expatguru@gmail.com.  Choose 10 US dollars as payment and select 'Services' button. Click on 'Continue' to complete your payment. Wait, there is one more final step - your query.

`

3. My friend and well-known software expert / VA professional Mrs. Deepa Govind has designed the form below. Please fill in your query in the form. The information you give here will never be passed on to anyone and is completely confidential. In case you wish to receive an automated reminder, please click on the appropriate field. However, if you do not wish to receive any reminder, I respect your privacy and you will not get any reminder. However, please note that in this case, your query will get automatically deleted by the system without notice within a few days in case you forgot to make the payment.

Once Paypal notifies me by email that the payment has been made, you will get a detailed, personalized and confidential reply by email within 24 hours. Regretably, due to the huge volume of queries I receive each day, I no longer entertain any free requests. The idea is not to make money, but only to screen genuine requests and avoid spam while at the same time putting a value for my time. Hope you understand.

My blog will continue to remain as a free service for non-paying readers, who can still view all the posts, but without a personalized reply to each of your queries.

Terms and conditions:
Please note that I am not a lawyer by profession nor do I hold any position in any department of the Government of Saudi Arabia. The opinions and consultancy services rendered here are purely based on my own experiences as an expatriate of long standing and are expressed in good faith to the best of my knowledge. I take absolutely no responsibility for the consequences arising out of such consultancy. Paying an upfront fee of USD10 is an indication of having read and understood these terms and conditions and having agreed to the same.