I had written earlier about the formalities to be followed in case of death of an expatriate in Saudi Arabia (click here).
Very frequently, I have been getting requests by dependents of such expatriates who passed away. The unfortunate part is when the kith and kin of such expats are in the home countries and have absolutely no clue of how to go about getting the dues from the sponsors. It is hard on the dependents to lose their bread winner, but it is even more disastrous when some sponsors do not bother to settle the dues of their deceased employees leaving the next of the kin in the lurch. I was recently moved by one such request pleading for help on the way forward, because there was just no help coming from the sponsor, so I decided to do a separate post on this for the benefit of such people.
What happens to the dues of deceased expat workers? Does it get locked up forever? Is there no way by which the next of the kin could get some relief? What if there is no response from the sponsor? The only way out is legal action, but what could the kith and kin living thousands of kilometers away do to get their rightful dues?
To answer these, one must understand that there are certain procedures to be followed. To begin with, the legal heirs of the dead expat must contact their embassy in Riyadh. The first step is to prove that they are the legal heirs and must arrange for what is known as a "Legal Heir Certificate" (LHC). This certificate must contain the full names of each one of the dead person's children / legal heirs, including minor children and the age and relationship of each one of the legal heirs with the deceased. In case the deceased had minor children, the name, age and relationship of the guardian must also be mentioned in this certificate. Finally, this certificate has to be issued by a statutory authority in the home country, such as a Civil Judge / District Magistrate, etc.
The next step is to get hold of someone in the kingdom who is ready to attend the court proceedings on behalf of the legal heirs. This is not only impractical, but also a pain for anyone. So, I would suggest that the best way out is to authorize the Embassy of the deceased person to handle the case. To do this, the legal heirs must arrange for a Power of Attorney (POA). The POA is a legal document which you must contain the names and signatures of each one of the legal heirs. In case of minor children, it is mandatory for the guardian of the minor kids to sign this document. For those people who cannot sign, the left thumb impression for men and right thumb impression for women are considered legally adequate. The POA must very clearly state that the legal heirs are authorizing the Ambassador of their country's embassy in Riyadh with powers to nominate any of the officers of the embassy to represent them in courts of the kingdom. A very important point to note is that the POA, as required by the Saudi courts, come in a standard format. NEVER make any change to this format and NEVER have any initials or shortened form of names (for example Md., instead of Mohammed). Saudi courts accept only the full name of legal heirs.
You will have to then get both these certificates translated into Arabic. That alone is not enough. You MUST get both the English as well as the Arabic translation attested at three different levels. First, your local provincial Government's Home or Interior Department has to attest these certificates. Next, you must get them attested by the External Affairs / Foreign Office in your country. Finally, they must be attested by the Saudi embassy or consulate in your home country.
Once this is done, you must submit the entire set to your country's embassy in Riyadh. they will take over from that point of time to get your dues legally. How successful they are is another matter, but this is the procedure. As indicated in my earlier post (click here), every embassy has its own legal department and authorized lawyers who will fight the case on your behalf in the labor courts in Saudi. One important point is that the format for POA is fixed by the Ministry of Justice of the Saudi Government, so you must take care not to change even slightly and it must be complied with 100%. I have a specimen copy of the POA with me and would gladly share it with anyone who requests the same.
I trust this was of some use to those who are in such a bad shape after losing their near ones. If any such unfortunate dependent got benefited from this, then my day is made.