Long time expats working in Saudi Arabia have now got used to the grand announcements made in the local press raising expectations each time, only to be badly let down. This time too, was no different.
The expat community was abuzz with brouhaha on something which is so sensitive and important to them - to bring their families to the kingdom. This blog has explained the rather cumbersome process earlier and the absolute stupidity of linking the permanent family visa with the profession mentioned in the iqama (click here). I had also given earlier the procedure to bring your family on a visit visa, which was much easier than a permanent visa (click here).
And so when something is printed in the local newspaper, expatriates working in Saudi Arabia literally took it to heart and started heaping praises that they would now be able to bring their families at the click of a button. Far from it.
First, take a look at the article (click here). The very first sentence begins pompously with the announcement "The Interior Ministry has launched a new service that would allow expatriate workers to process visas online for their wives and minor children". Now if you really thought that something exciting was happening, hold your breath.
As you read through the article, you realize that it creates more confusion - is it talking about permanent family visa or a visit visa? Anyway, since a link was given there, people simply lapped it up without even verifying the same. After all, milk and honey was going to flow on the streets of the kingdom, right?
Let's go straight to the link which was published in this newspaper. A quick look and if you are rather lost on how to proceed further, don't worry, you are not alone. The so-called "new service", in the first place is not new. All it means is that you have to register your name in the Ministry of Interior's website. Some service!
Now what happens next, after you register? To put it simply, nothing. So all this self-praise about expatriates "hailing the online family visa system" (click here) has as usual gone down the drain. How much more blatantly can you lie?
Please, do not play with people's emotions. If you do not have a procedure in place, do not publish any news and nobody would complain. But publishing a news which is blatantly misleading and that too on such a sensitive issue is nothing short of cheap publicity. This should be a lesson for expats not to believe anything which goes in print in the press.