Friday, April 12, 2013

New changes to Nitaqat scheme

Remember all the hype about the Nitaqat scheme when it was introduced? I would like to recollect for the benefit of readers that as per the color code scheme, expatriates in the red category could get themselves transferred to yellow or green category companies. It was also announced with great fanfare and pomp on how "fair" this scheme was to expats and that those in the red category need not even get the permission of their sponsors to change to yellow or green categories.

Probably this announcement took authorities by surprise, because there was such a rush for people to change to yellow and green categories. Finally there was some light at the end of the tunnel. Then came the modification to the rule. Those who did apply for change from red to yellow and green categories could not leave the country for 6 months. Even though this was nothing short of absolute modern-day slavery, most poor expats could do nothing but to just bear this humiliation and carry on. At least there was hope that their papers would be transferred to yellow or green category in due course.

After the wave of discontent resulting from the raids and clipping of Iqamas, there was a royal announcement of a three-month "grace" period for "illegals" to change their status. This raised some hope for those who were caught in the red category as most saw this as their last chance. Yesterday, the fig leaf totally came out with the Ministry of Labor's announcement that those in the red category would not be able to change their status or take advantage of this "grace" period. In other words, they would all have to leave the country on final exit. The whole problem is, if their sponsors refuse to stamp the final exit, these poor expats would automatically be converted into "illegals" and face deportation. And once a person is deported from the kingdom, he just cannot re-enter again throughout his life. 

Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi, SriLankan and Filipino embassies are already gearing up for exodus. No one is asking 'whether' this will happen, everyone is asking 'when'. In fact, the Indian embassy is already flooded with applications for an exit pass. So much has been the demand that the embassy was forced to announce that it would also accept applications sent by post and that there was no need for expats to come personally to Riyadh. 

Maybe this is the best chance for these poor expats to get out. What a fall from grace for the world's largest gasoline station from the oil boom days!

On another note, I am happy to announce that the one millionth visitor to this blog arrived this week. I am deeply indebted to my dear readers and expat brothers and sisters who have supported this blog since inception, not to miss my friend and software expert Deepa Govind who played a pivotal role in setting up the consultancy form. To all of you, a big Thank You from the bottom of my heart!   

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

Great work, Expatguru! Congratulations on this achievement.

James Fletcher said...

Your blog has been a source of guidance for all expats in the kingdom. Keep up the good work and congrats.

Shaiku said...

Hearty Congratulations Expat Guru, One Million...its a waavvv number...no doubt the site contains a lot of information, and provides guidance to many.....many congratulations once again...

Shaiku said...

Dear Expat Guru, Can you please provide the source of information that the Red Category employees cannot transfer to Green Category? I am in the process of getting Transfer Papers may be I will get an Exit Visa after this rule instead of Transfer??? Please, provide the Link as usually you provide...

Thanks a ton...
Appreciate your efforts...

Expatguru said...

Anonymous, James and Shaiku, thanks to all of you.

Shaiku, here is the link you requested:

http://www.saudigazette.com.sa/index.cfm?method=home.regcon&contentid=20130412161005

Good luck!

Anonymous said...

has the saudi govt stopped issuing visa to india , pakistan .. and to other countries ?? due to this ?

Expatguru said...

Anonymous,

No, that is not correct. New expats are still coming but only in green category companies.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this information Expatguru, i have been an avid reader of your blog.

I have a question if you would be kind enough to answer.

Will a yellow category company be able to transfer their employee to a green category company?.

Expatguru said...

Anonymous,

It is certainly possible to get yourself transferred from yellow to green, but not vice versa.

Anonymous said...

there are 1470 workers still need help. Cheated by a Turkish company MAPA construction; these poor workers are stranded over a year; can not work; can not transfer their visas nor can get final exit. These workers belongs to India; Pakistan; egypt; and yemen etc

Sundar said...

Dear Expatguru, Congratulations on your spectacular achievement.... Your blog has been the best source of reliable information for expatriates