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Saudi Arabia warns foreign workers of imprisonment and fines

Ethiopian workers in Saudi [file photo]
Ethiopian workers in Saudi [file photo]

Saudi Arabia warned on Monday morning that foreign workers who violate their residency and labour regulations might face the risk of prison and fines.

In a statement issued by the Saudi General Directorate of Passports, the authorities warned anyone who offers transportation services or hires foreign workers, who violated their residency and labour regulations, will be imprisoned or fined, saying: “Anyone who covers up, shelters or provides a means of assistance to those infringing workers shall be liable to imprisonment of up to six months and a fine that amounts to 100.000 Saudi riyals.”

The statement added: “If the offender is an expatriate, he will be at risk of deportation from Saudi Arabia, and the fine and imprisonment will double according to the number of offending foreign workers.”

The General Directorate of Passports also indicated that: “the owners of establishments, who employ foreign workers violating their residency and work regulations (including those who did not show up at work, especially domestic workers) are similarly committing offences, and will receive a fine of 100.000 Saudi riyals. Besides, the establishment will be banned from hiring foreign workers for five years and will be defamed by the state. Additionally, the director in charge of operations in the company will be imprisoned for one year and deported if he or she is an expatriate. Thus, the value of the fines will depend on the type of offence.”

The Directorate General of Passports called on citizens and residents to report on violating expats, who breach labour and residency regulations (including those who do not show up to work, especially domestic workers), so as not to subject themselves to punishment, noting that the employer can report on the absence of domestic workers (escape report), online, via Absher application services offered by the Ministry of Interior.

The Directorate General of Saudi Passports explained that the employer could not cancel the submission of an escape report from Absher app. However, he is required to review the management of expatriates within 15 days from the submission of the complaint. Thus, the penalties determined by the authorities, i.e. 50.000 Saudi riyals fine, imprisonment for up to six months with deportation and ban from entering the Kingdom permanently, will be executed against any expat who gets caught following the reception of an escape report against him or her.

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