Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Future to the back!

The kingdom is never short of people with the finest sense of humor (okay, I was rather diplomatic in not referring them as j-o-k-e-r-s). The latest one is from a top official of the Riyadh Chamber of Commerce who wants implementation of a cabinet decision which was made in - hold your breath - 1975. Now that's what you call Back to the Future - just that it's read backwards.

Before going into the details, let's see what this cabinet decision was in that century. As per Decision No. 825 issued in the year 1395 (the equivalent of Gregorian 1975), expatriates who "violate" their contract would be fined SR10,000 and banned for 3 years from re-entering the kingdom. "Violation" here pertains to people who go on vacation and do not return. I would have trashed this report as the usual blame-it-all-on-expat rhetoric, which people have stopped taking seriously for a long time, but for the fact that it came from a Board Member of RCCI who has met the Saudi Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs to influence his point. And this is headlines in the kingdom's national newspaper (click here)!

Now why on earth would an expat want to not return if he is paid well and treated well? I am yet to see a cabinet decision which fines a Saudi sponsor severely and bans him for not paying his employees' salaries, not releasing their passports when their vacations are due and a host of other "violations".

In another development, the Saudi Government has announced that new private international educational institutions would not be allowed to have any more intervention by their respective embassies. A long overdue move, indeed. In fact, this should be taken further ahead and they must be allowed to operate independently without intervention even by the Saudi Government. After all, it is not the Government's business to run any business. Most international educational institutions have become highly politicized and I wonder why existing international schools are not covered by this new rule.

I had mentioned in an earlier article (click here) the procedure to be followed in case you lose your Iqama. The Saudi Government has now waived the penalty if theft of Iqama is reported to the police within 24 hours. The waiver does not apply if the Iqama is "lost", i.e., due to negligence or any other reason. Now if an Iqama is lost, how do you know whether someone stole it or you dropped it somewhere? The best way to avoid a fine in that case, is to report it as stolen. Some small mercies, indeed.


sameer said...

Hello sir I am working as instrument engineer at iqama profession is building electrician. My company won't give me salary frm past 6months. I am asking for release or exit. But they threatened me to ban saudi. Pls help me to give advice to get exit or release. My iqama will expire after 4months

Expatguru said...


Contact your embassy right away who will guide you. All the best!

Zaheer thinks said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Expatguru said...


Regarding the "persecution" which you have referred to, there are good and bad people everywhere irrespective of religion. Immediately contact your embassy in Riyadh who will help you with an emergency certificate to go back to your country. DO NOT sign any contract which you do not agree. Good luck!