Steps to rectify status during the three-month grace period in view of implementation of Saudi Labor Law amendments
The grace period instituted by the Saudi government is meant for violations of the Saudization policy (nitaqat) – specifically those foreign workers who work for employers who are not their sponsors, and those employers who do not employ enough Saudi nationals. Those who fall under this category have violated Saudi labor law. The Saudi government will go after the erring original sponsor, the current employer and the illegal worker if they do not correct their papers once the grace period is over.
The Filipino community is strongly urged to read the FAQ prepared by the Embassy with regard to this grace period.
Those who have long run away from their original sponsors and no longer have valid residency permits (iqamas) or passports are a different category altogether. Theirs is an immigration problem. There are existing procedures – under Saudi law – for addressing their issues.
The Embassy is always ready to provide appropriate advice and assistance in any case. However, their respective solutions – for those violating the labor law and for those violating immigration law – are different.
For example, for workers affected by the Saudization policy, they need to either return to their original sponsor or to transfer sponsors to their actual current employer by following existing regulations. Those working as “freelancers” or under a dependent’s visa should keep in mind that it is a violation to work with a freelance or dependent visa. They should take steps to transfer their iqama immediately before the end of the grace period.
On the other hand, for workers falling under the immigration problem category, they will need to be ready with their last valid residency card (iqama) and valid passport or a copy of the last passport. If they do not have a copy of their iqama, they can obtain a print out of the information from the Jawazat.
They will also need to get in touch with their original sponsors when they first arrived in Saudi Arabia and request from them a No-Objection Certificate. And they will need to go to the General Directorate for Passports (Jawazat) for the payment of fines and penalties, and the airfare for the flight to the Philippines.
Lastly, as of this time there is no amnesty for foreign nationals illegally staying in Saudi Arabia. It was only a proposal made by Labor Minister Adel Fakieh, which is still under study by various concerned Saudi agencies.
The Embassy has previously advised the Filipino community in Saudi Arabia not to believe in rumors that there is an amnesty. The Embassy will advise the Filipino community once it receives official notification from Saudi government authorities of any development with regard to immigration law. There is also no truth to the rumor that the Philippine Government will shoulder all expenses (fines and airfare) for the repatriation of overstayers.
The Embassy will soon disseminate the translation of procedures for various transactions with the General Directorate of Passports, and will also disseminate any official notices it receives from the host government.(END)
PhilEmb Press Release 054-2013