If there is a single issue which causes immense heartburn, anxiety and expectation among expatriates working in Saudi Arabia, it could be none other than the excuriating process of obtaining a family visa. This blog has covered extensively (click here) in the past the foolishness of linking a person's visa profession for deciding on whether he could sponsor his family or not.
Wednesday, March 26, 2014
The kingdom is never short of people with the finest sense of humor (okay, I was rather diplomatic in not referring them as j-o-k-e-r-s). The latest one is from a top official of the Riyadh Chamber of Commerce who wants implementation of a cabinet decision which was made in - hold your breath - 1975. Now that's what you call Back to the Future - just that it's read backwards.
Monday, March 10, 2014
For expats working in Saudi Arabia, not a week passes before some new rule hits them from the blue. In fact, so fast do these rules and flip-flops keep occuring that sometimes it becomes difficult to even keep a tab on what's going on. This week was no exception.
Sunday, March 2, 2014
This blog has mentioned in the past details of phone numbers of various labor offices across Saudi Arabia for the benefit of expatriates (click here). A common complaint, which was never heeded by the officials in this Ministry was that all transactions were only in Arabic, despite a vast majority of the expat population working in Saudi Arabia being non-Arabs. So, the help desk became virtually a helpless desk.
Tuesday, February 18, 2014
This blog has always insisted on keeping multiple hard copies of all important documents such as exit / reentry visas, iqamas, etc. This, despite the fact that it is not insisted upon at the airports in the kingdom. I had written a specific article (click here) about this earlier. Despite all the so-called reform, fact is that the system is not fool-proof to give enough comfort for expatriates working in Saudi Arabia to do away with paperwork.
People do lose things and what happens if you are one among the unfortunate ones who lost their exit / reentry visa after leaving the kingdom? Thankfully, there are now two options to get out of this situation.
I had mentioned in my earlier article (click here) on the importance of keeping the hard copy of the exit / reentry visa, because the immigration officer abroad needs to check the validity of your visa before allowing you to cross the gate. In the unfortunate event of you losing this paper, just click on this link, fill in your details and get a printout. You also have the option of getting the details by sms through the same link.
The fact that such a link is now available is itself a "reform" of sorts, but real reform would be to simply scrap this exit / re-entry system itself. All countries require visas for entering, but how many civilized countries have visas for getting out? I am totally astonished that in this modern era when slavery is supposed to have been abolished, we still have such outdated mindsets and procedures. And if the kingdom cannot live without charging expats for each exit / re-entry, why not just add a fixed cost to the Iqama charges and simply scrap this system which is nothing but a pain in the wrong place?