From: SHAH FAISAL KHAN <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Fri, Jun 28, 2013 at 4:44 AM
Subject: [Hyderabad-Rocks] "Fresh hope for illegals-SAUDI ARABIA"
The Labor Ministry has proposed an extension of the amnesty deadline, evoking a sense of optimism among expatriates as well as local businesses that it will be extended to at least for three more months so that more workers could correct their status.
JEDDAH: P. K. ABDUL GHAFOUR | ARAB NEWS STAFF
Friday 28 June 2013
Last Update 28 June 2013 3:00 am
"The ministry has sent a cable to higher authorities advising them to extend the deadline for correcting the residency and labor status of foreign workers," Al-Watan reported yesterday.
The proposal, made on Wednesday, is in response to an overwhelming demand from businesses as well as expatriates.
The move also followed requests made by diplomats from India, Pakistan, Philippines, Bangladesh, Egypt and a host of other countries.
Ibrahim Badawood, managing director of ALJ Community Initiatives, welcomed the plan to extend the deadline, saying it would help both expats and businesses.
The flight of experienced workers will definitely affect many service firms across the country.
"We cannot get rid of the mess created by unlawful practices in the past several years within a short period of three months," Badawood told Arab News.
He called for an extension of three to six months.
According to one report, about half of an estimated eight million expatriates need their status corrected and the process will take a lot of time.
The ministry has acknowledged that only 1.58 million of them have so far benefited from the amnesty.
"The extension was expected because of the huge pressure," said Fahd Al-Hammadi, chairman of the National Committee for Contractors at the Council of Saudi Chambers.
"Everyone of us support the correction process but the three-month grace period was not enough," he said.
Al-Hammadi said an extension for another three months could help all foreigners to correct their status.
Abdul Ghani Al-Ansari of the Madinah Chamber of Commerce and Industry said about 700,000 businesses had been operating in violation of the Commerce Ministry's regulations.
Rafeek Younus, vice president of Saihati Group, emphasized the tremendous impact of the labor correction process, adding that it would streamline the labor market.
"Amnesty extension will benefit businesses as it will help them make use of the readily available experienced foreign work force.".