From: SHAH FAISAL KHAN <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Thu, Jun 13, 2013 at 5:06 AM
Subject: [aijazahmedit] "Calls mount to Extend July 3 amnesty deadline-SAUDI ARABIA"
Calls mount to extend July 3 amnesty deadline
Saudi businessmen and economists have joined the chorus demanding an extension of the July 3 deadline, saying it was essential for the completion of the correction process sought by nearly two million foreign workers.
"According to reports about 500,000 expats have so far corrected their status. This means the grace period needs to be extended to help the remaining 1.5 million expats to legalize their status," said economist Ihsan Buhulaiga, a former Shoura member.
Buhulaiga underscored the joint efforts of foreign embassies, Saudi chambers and Labor and Interior Ministries to help expats meet the deadline. "This is not a simple process. It involves a lot of work. The long queues in front of embassies, chambers and labor and Jawazat offices highlight the need for an amnesty extension," he told Arab News.
Expatriates and businesses have shown their seriousness to legalize their status during the past two months, said Siddeek Ahmed, CMD of Eram Group that employs 10,000. "But the grace period to correct the status is not enough. If the government gives three months more, I am sure all firms and workers would be able to correct their status by October," he told Arab News.
Ahmed praised India for taking the initiative to get the grace period by sending a delegation to Saudi Arabia. "As a result other nationals also benefited," Ahmed said. Nitaqat has helped foreigners in the Kingdom to do their businesses without fear, he added.
A number of foreign diplomats have already requested the Saudi government to extend the grace period in order to help illegals leave the Kingdom and violators of iqama and labor rules to correct their status.
Meanwhile, Labor Minister Adel Fakeih told a conference in Geneva that the Nitaqat helped 615,000 Saudis to get jobs. They included 180,000 women and 17,000 people of special needs. The ministry said it would stop change of profession of house servants and foreigners working in Red companies after July 3.