From: Ali Ahmed Parvez <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Mon, Jun 17, 2013 at 1:04 PM
Subject: [tanzeemhumhindustani] EP sees sudden rush of expats struggling to correct status
Monday, 17 June 2013 | Sha'ban 8, 1434
Dammam, which is considered the industrial hub of the Kingdom and a preferred destination for expatriates, is home to thousands of skilled and unskilled workers from Asian countries since the Eastern Province provides employment opportunities to both legal and illegal, skilled and unskilled labor to eke out a living.
But with the proclamation of the new Nitaqat law, there has been a sudden rush from expatriates either to return to their home country or to regularize their residency status following the concessions announced by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah.
Thousands of runaways, mainly working in construction, are taking advantage of the concession offered by the government and want to return home, while others want to regularize their status with new employers. A majority of the expatriates in the region want to stay back, citing grounds like amendment to profession and change of sponsorship.
A peculiar situation has arisen from the fact that there are thousands of workers whose iqamas have not been issued in the Eastern Province. They have to get back to the place where their iqamas were issued to record finger prints. One of the main problems that sizable numbers of expatriates in the Eastern Province face is that they don't have immediate access to respective diplomatic missions for required consular services.
The saving grace for such expatriates is that embassies of Asian countries in Riyadh have deployed staff at Dammam to render consular services and assist their nationals during this period. Also, expatriate communities have come forward to play a crucial role with the help of their embassies to assist and guide their fellow countrymen to make use of the concessions.
The Eastern Province especially Dammam and Jubail are known as powerhouses for manpower supplies in the Kingdom, particularly in the construction sector. Most of these firms are dependent on illegal workers to run their business. The number of such firms, according to one estimate, exceeds 1000. Most of them are managed by expatriates, who are now demanding huge amounts from fellow expatriates to take them under their sponsorship.
Meanwhile, long queues are a common sight at the deportation center in Dammam's Faisaliya district, despite the fact that biometric reading began very late compared to Riyadh and Jeddah. At present, there are six counters available for biometric recordings. Most applicants recording their biometrics are from India, Bangladesh and Nepal.
In an effort to ease the situation, The Eastern Chamber of Commerce has decided to extend its working hours until late in the night and also on Fridays to attest documents of expatriates who want to correct their status and change sponsorship. The chamber has been attesting on average 2,000 documents a day in all its branches including Jubail. It has attested over 600,000 documents since the grace period began.
Unlike in other provinces, passport and labor offices in Dammam have been using electronic service through their Web portals for corrections and change of sponsorship of employees.
Thanks & Best Regards;
Parvez A. Ahmed
Document Controller (HCS)
Saudi Aramco Total Refining and Petrochemical - SATORP Project
TR Gulf CO. LTD.
P.O.Box:11862 Jubail Industrial City 31961
Mob: +966 515137730