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Dhaka Tribune

KSA toughens stance on illegal immigrants

Update : 15 Apr 2014, 07:54 PM

A section of Bangladeshis expatriates were likely to be affected as Saudi Arabia on Monday announced tough punishment for expats violating the country’s residency, labour and business regulations.

Punishment for such violations include fines up to SR100,000 (approximately Tk20.7 lakh), jail terms up to two years, a recruitment ban and deportation, Arab News reported yesterday.

The move targets foreigners who have come to the Kingdom on work, visit, Haj and Umrah visas, and have overstayed their terms, the KSA interior ministry said.

“Those who did not take the opportunity during the general amnesty may be affected,” Bangladesh Ambassador to Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Md Shahidul Islam told the Dhaka Tribune over phone yesterday.

Terming the decision as a common phenomena, he also mentioned that a total of 7,99,000 Bangladeshis have already received benefits from the amnesty.

The ambassador further added that Saudi authorities also allowed Bangladeshis to change professions and transfer iqama permanently.

Sources at Bangladesh Embassy in Saudi Arabia said around 475 Bangladeshis are now serving various jail terms in the country.

According to the Arab News: “Punishment will be increased depending on the number of violations and individuals involved, while convicted expats will be deported and prevented from entering the Kingdom for a specific period,” the ministry said in a statement.

“Those arrested for violations will not be released, even on bail,” the statement added.

Expats working independently will be fined SR10,000 and deported if the laws were violation for the first time, while second-time offenders will be fined SR25,000, jailed for one month and deported and third-time offenders will incur a SR50,000 fine, a six-month jail and deportation, the statement said.

Expats overstaying their visas for the first time will be fined SR15,000 and deported, while second-time offenders will be liable to pay SR25,000, spend three months in jail and face deportation. Third-timers will incur a SR50,000 fine, a six-month jail term and deportation. 

 “The Interior Ministry’s decision compliments the Labor Ministry’s efforts to flush out illegals and regulate the labour market,” said ALJ Community Managing Director Initiatives Ibrahim Badawood.

Expats who fail to report delays in the departure of overstaying employees will be fined SR15,000 and face deportation for the first instance, SR25,000, jail for three months and deportation the second time, and SR50,000, a six-month jail term and deportation the third time.

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