Nov 29 2011

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NITAQAT – Exit of red category worker at airport

 Q. I have a question regarding the new nitaqat program. I’ve heared from different people that the officials on the Airport are stamping permanet exit (Kharooj) to some people whose employers fall under RED category. These persons still had valid Iqamas and were going on vacation. Is this true? Please reply as I am planning to go on a vacation soon. (06.24.2011 – Nabeel Ikram, nabs84@gmail.com).

Sudden or surprise exit at the airport on basis of NITAQAT is totally a baseless rumour. Passports authorities all over the kingdom blatantly denied and stated that these rumours are baseless and false. It is confirmed by Jeddah Passport Department spokesman LT.Col.Badar Al MAlik on June 23, 2011. As per his statement, any expatriate worker will not be deported from the Kingdom without receiving his legal rights. No expatriate worker will lose his rights if he had entered in the Kingdom on the basis of a valid visa and proper work contract.

As per Labor Ministry’s statement, iqama’s of the employees in the RED category will be renewed until November 26 and Yellow categories up to February 22 of 2012. No changes have been made to procedures followed by government departments as part of the Nitaqat. Nitaqat will be come in to effect only after three months i.e., on September 10 of 2011. After this date only the concerned authorities will take corrective action against the defaulters. After this cut of date, if any company will not meet the required criterion, then only these types of activities we can expect from authorities. Even after this date, Emigration authorities cannot put sudden exit stamp on employee’s documents because, is not a cup of tea of emigration department. it is a long procedure.

Exit of an employee is not a job which has to be done in the airport except he had done any severe crime etc. It cannot be done all of a sudden in the airport. They need to get a specific direction from the concerned authorities to put an Exit in regard to a labor law related matter. So far no authorities did not provide any direction in this regard. As per the normal procedure, the employer has to produce no dues proof of his employee to put an exit stamp on employees passport. Till now responsibility of exit of an expatriate employee fully vested on his employer.

So far so good. You can go for your vacation. Now no visible red signal for anybody’s travelling. But we cannot predict anything in KSA. It is advisable to take a little care in this situation if your re-entry to the Kingdom after September 10, 2011 and you are working with a RED category company. Because it is Saudi Arabia and you are an expatriate. Nobody can raise their voice against the ‘Orders”. As per Article 3 of the Saudi Labor law, work is the right of the Citizen.If you don’t like the system in this country, then you can do only one thing i.e, simply leave the country. Because every country has to protect their own citizens and policies than expatriates.

Please remind that, Saudi Arabia expelled around 1 million Yemeni expatriates who were residing in the Kingdom in 1990 when Yemen adopted a neutral stand on condemning the Iraqi invasion and annexation of Kuwait and refusing to support UN sanctions or the use of force. It is a lesson for all expatriates in Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

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