‘Nitaqat Grace Period won’t be extended’
With only 48 hours left to end the amnesty period as part of enforcement of Nitaqat policy, the localisation programme in Saudi Arabia, the Ministry of Labour of the Kingdom has ruled out an extension to the period to rectify the Iqama or residency status for expatriates.
Instead, the Ministry warned illegal workers and employers stating the countrywide raids to find illegal migrants would start on Monday.
Terming the reports by a section of media as “misleading and false”, Hattab Al-Enezi, Ministry spokesman, denied reports carried by some channels and websites that the government would grant more time to illegal workers.
“Reports published on some social networking websites and channels about the possibility of another extension for illegal migrants to correct their status are not true. The amnesty deadline ends on Sunday and government agencies will swing into action the following day,” said spokesman in a statement.
“The inspection of commercial premises will begin on Monday as planned. Various arms of the Ministry are ready for the inspections. The government agencies, however, will not arrest those holding relevant documents and waiting to legalise their status or be repatriated,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Foreign Ministry has forwarded appeals for an extension by some countries to the Labour and Interior ministries, according to local media.
■ A task force has been formed to identify illegal migrants in pharmacies, barber shops, restaurants and as security guards and drivers
■ Illegal workers to face two years in jail and fine of up to SR 1,00,000(nearly `17,00,000)
■Locals will be punished for harbouring illegal workers, including those overstaying their Umrah and Haj visas.
■More than four million foreign nationals have rectified their labour and residency status during the period
■ Around one million illegal workers have left the Kingdom, according to the Saudi Government