From: SHAH FAISAL KHAN <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Sun, May 12, 2013 at 8:58 AM
Subject: [aijazahmedit] TENS OF THOUSANDS OF ILLEGAL EXPATRIATE WORKERS-sought permission to leave Saudi Arabia
Tens of thousands of illegal expatriate workers have registered with their consulates over the past 30 days in an effort to get an airline ticket home, consulates and embassy officials told Arab News.JEDDAH: FOUZIA KHAN
Sunday 12 May 2013
Last Update 12 May 2013 1:37 am
An estimated 6,000 Pakistanis, 60,000 Indians, 10,000 Filipinos, 7,000 Sri Lankans and other nationalities have sought permission to leave Saudi Arabia.
Many other expats are looking to transfer their iqamas and companies seeking those workers hope for streamlined procedures from the Ministry of Labor so new employees can easily be picked up.
Adambawa Uthumalebbe, the Sri Lankan consul general, said: "The people who registered themselves with us earlier asked to go home, but since the government has now allowed the transfer of iqamas, they are coming to the consulate for that,"
said Mohamed Nazmul Islam, consul general of Bangladesh. He also said that they opened registration a week ago but not many people came to register. However, yesterday people came to the Bangladesh Consulate and Embassy. Findings on the number of expats seeking aid will be announced in two weeks.
The Pakistan Consulate is already registering its citizens for iqama transfer, announcing earlier that it had received offers for the employment of Pakistani workers but that it cannot proceed without accurate information.
Iqama transfers can be made without paying fees and have been welcomed by companies and consulates.
"This is good news from the government, as it will solve many of our problems, especially the problems and concerns of the construction sector," said Ahmed Tairq, head of a construction company. "This offers hope to end prevailing problems."
He also said that it was difficult to find suitable workers to fit their needs.
Tolga Tamer, a finance controller, said company officials are pleased with the government's move. The company applied for iqama transfers, three of which have been approved and six are pending.
"The transfer procedure is easy but time-consuming," Tamer said. "It's very slow because there is a lot of paperwork to be done."
He also said that the hiring of Saudi nationals remains a problem because they have not been able to find qualified Saudis.
Al-Sayed Yusuf Alzenbaki, director of job affairs at MICE and an events and exhibitions organizer, said that they welcome the government's move and that they have not faced any problems and that procedures have gone on smoothly.
Sheikh Mohiudeen, marketing manager at the Saudi Pipe Factory, said that transfer procedures are going on slowly but surely. "We know it will take time, as many people are applying for transferring their iqamas and consulates announce that they will help people find green category companies and help workers to transfer their iqamas according to the needs of the company," Mohiudeen said.