Massive Fingerprinting of Expats Begins
7 Feb. 2009/Diraiyah, Riyadh
Saudi Government through its Director General of the Passport Department are now implementing finger-printing on all migrant workers here in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
This massive fingerprinting of expatriates begins today 7 February, 2009 at Saudi Oger, Diraiyah compound.
The order from the Passport Department is to strengthen its internal security measures against terrorist activities and infiltration; crimes such as drug smuggling, manufacturing and alcohol use, visa forgery, immoral act and back door activities where undocumented expatriates were able to flee the country despite of police and court pending cases.
Although the order was already issued last year but authorities are now on its massive implemention stage. Today thousands of expatriates including Filipinos from various companies in Riyadh arrived at Diraiyah where the fingerprinting and photos of expatriates were taken at Saudi Oger compound.
According to the interior ministry security experts substantial increase in crimes involving foreigners were reported. Mandatory fingerprinting will help solve crimes and prevent those expats or foreigners with criminal backgrounds to return the country with false names or new identity. The system will uncover their presence upon entering the country’s air and sea ports. According to an Immigration official, “this could also prevent expatriates to leave the country using backdoor facilities”.
The finger-printing requirement was already implemented to new expatriates coming in the Kingdom and former expatriates with new employer.
The system is now being implemented in the airport Immigration upon arrival of foreigners to work in the country.
OFW Congress an organization of Filipino Community leaders in Riyadh, advocating OFW issues and concerns are worried about undocumented OFWs, overstaying, stranded and ran away OFWs roaming around the four corners of the Kingdom. Engr. Faisal Sharque of OFWC said “the Philippine Embassy and Philippine Consulates must be ready to help and protect its nationals and to house undocumented OFWs that will surely ask for their assistance”.
In King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology-KACST, a Government institution provide buses to their expatriate employees going to Diraiyah, Saudi Oger compound in compliance to the order.
“Philippine Embassy officials should act as early as possible and invite Filipino Community organizations to a meeting where proactive solution to the problem must be acted upon before the jails of the Kingdom will be congested with Overseas Filipino Workers” a member organization of OFW Congress said.
Exclusive Report by: Aiman Ahmad