From: SHAH FAISAL KHAN <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Sat, Jun 15, 2013 at 9:01 AM
Subject: [Hyderabad-Rocks] "19 days left, but only 10% illegals cleared to leave-SAUDI ARABIA"
19 days left, but only 10% illegals cleared to leave
Illegals' stre to correct their status continues.
With less than 20 days left for expatriates to normalize their status before the deadline on July 3, it has emerged that only 10 percent of expatriates in the Western Province have completed procedures to go home, according to Asian diplomatic sources.
Diplomatic missions are worried that most illegal workers will be unable to use the amnesty period owing to the slow pace of the fingerprinting and exit clearance processes, especially in the Western Province where a large number of them are affected.
For exiting expatriates, there are only two procedures to be implemented at the Riyadh deportation center. This makes the exit process faster whereas at the Jeddah deportation center eight procedures have to be completed that has caused major delays for workers tying to leave.
The Saudi authorities in Riyadh were notified of the delays in Jeddah during a meeting of the envoys of Asian countries and officials from the Ministry of Labor.
Maj. Gen. Salem Al-Bulaihed, director general of Passport Department, was also present at the meeting at the headquarters of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
India has the largest number of workers who wish to be repatriated. While 2,200 Indians were able to record their biometrics, only 671 were able to get their passports stamped by the passport authorities for final exits.
Bangladeshis comprise the second-largest segment of expatriate workers who want to return home. There are 16,000 Bangladeshi expatriates in Jeddah who want to go home, but only 1,400 have been able to record their biometrics and fewer than 400 applicants secured their final exit visas.
The Sri Lankan Consulate in Jeddah had issued 9,000 travel documents. While 1,500 expatriates completed the fingerprinting procedures, only 15 were able to leave.
The Pakistan Consulate issued over 6,000 exit travel documents; 2,100 applicants recorded their biometrics but only 500 received exit clearance.
The Philippine Consulate issued over 4,500 travel documents and approximately 2,000 underwent fingerprinting procedures. But none of them has received exit clearance so far. The Indonesian Consulate had issued 60,000 travel documents until last week, with 6,000 Indonesians wanting to return home. But only 150 were able to have their biometrics done and none received exit clearance.
Nepalese officials issued 3,000 exit documents in Jeddah; 150 recorded their biometrics but none received clearance.
Over 2,000 Egyptians did their fingerprinting procedures but fewer than 250 applicants have secured final exits.
The details of Sudanese expatriates are not available but observers believe a similar situation exists.
There are a significant number of expatriates who have their original passports with no official data in them. Some of them are Haj and Umrah pilgrims who overstayed their visas.
Each country has been allocated a specific day on which to record the biometrics of their citizens who have an iqama number or entry number known as "Raqam Al-Dakhul" given at the port of entry in the Kingdom.
According to sources, there are only two counters operating for recording the biometrics of runaway workers at the Jeddah deportation center, while a single counter is in operation for Haj and Umrah visa holders who overstayed their visits. It takes up to 20 hours or more to complete the fingerprinting process. This has caused a lot of inconvenience, with some applicants even falling sick.
Diplomats of the key affected countries of Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal and the Philippines spend on average 18 hours at the deportation center. Consuls Faiz Ahmed Kidwai (India), Aftab Ahmed Khokhar (Pakistan), Nazmul Islam (Bangladesh), Uriel Norman R. Garibay (Philippines) are frequently seen visiting their nationals waiting in long queues and meeting with Saudi officials.
Deportation centers in Dammam, Madinah, Tabuk, Buraidah, Abha, Hafar Al Baten, Dawadmi, Hail, Makkah and Taif started recording the biometrics of expatriates two weeks ago. With the deadline approaching, it is already too late for thousands of expatriates who have yet to complete the process of correcting their status.