The havoc caused by implementation of the Nitaqat program on expats has already been well documented (click here). As expected, thousands of expatriates falling under 'Red' category were left stranded when they could not find jobs in yellow and green categories. To add insult to injury, the decision by the Saudi Government to impose a fine of SR2400 per year per expatriate on those companies employing less than 50% of Saudi employees, put a severe strain on expats.
What happened was that many sponsors simply abandoned their expat employees and refused to renew their iqamas. "Saudization is nice to talk about, as long as it doesn't hit under my belt", seemed to be the policy of these greedy sponsors. So, overnight we now have a situation where thousands of expats whose iqamas were not renewed were illegal residents, who were liable to be arrested at any time for overstaying without legal documents.
After a series of flash strikes, the Saudi labor ministry finally announced an "amnesty" scheme yesterday. All expatriates without valid papers can now leave the kingdom on an exit only visa, without any fines. What a great relief this has come, for these unfortunate people whose only "crime" was that their iqamas were not renewed by their sponsors!
Okay, now to the brasstacks. Most embassies are gearing up for a mad rush of thousands of such people who want to get out. In fact, the Indian embassy is now making arrangements to put extra staff to handle this rush. All expats wanting to go out of the kingdom on an exit only visa without facing any fines, can apply for emergency certificates through their respective embassies. Of course, there are certain exceptions. For example, if someone is absconding after committing serious crimes like murder, etc., he would not be eligible. But for the vast majority of others, this has really come as a major relief.
For the convenience of Indian expats, I am giving here the link (click here) from where they can download the emergency certificate forms. Fill up this form and submit it to your embassy with all required documents. Expats from other countries can likewise contact their respective embassies for obtaining emergency certificates.