Manama: Foreigners staying illegally in Saudi Arabia have been given three months to leave the kingdom without paying fines or facing legal measures.
The grace period will start on March 29, Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Nayef said as he announced the “Nation Free of Violators” campaign to help undocumented expatriates regularise their status.
All concerned agencies and departments were instructed by Prince Mohammad, who is also Saudi Arabia’s Interior Minister, to ease the departure of all foreigners who wished to leave.
Mansoor Al Turki, the spokesperson for the interior ministry, told the media at a press conference on Sunday that any foreigner who was breaking the residency and work laws and regulations would be able to leave the kingdom without paying any fines or being subject to legal action.
The violator will also be able to return later to work legally in Saudi Arabia since he would not go through the fingerprinting process usually applied to deportees who would not be allowed back into the kingdom, he said.
“The Nation Free of Violators campaign targets foreigners who have no residency or work permits or have not renewed them as well as those who entered Saudi Arabia with Haj, Umrah, visit or transit visas and failed to leave before their expiry,” Al Turki said.
“Those who have broken the residency and work laws should first settle their personal rights and dues and then start the process of leaving through the websites of the labour ministry or the passport department. Those who have overstayed their Haj, Umrah, visit or transit visas do not have to contact any government agency or authority and may head to any exit point and leave the country.”
Foreigners who have absconded and have been reported as missing by their employers should contact the nearest expatriates’ department to complete the departure process, he added.
In 2013, then King Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz gave a 90-day grace period to allow foreigners staying illegally in Saudi Arabia legalise their status or leave the Kingdom without any penalty or fine.
According to the General Authority for Statistics, more than 12 million of the 32 million people who live in Saudi Arabia are foreigners.