Stranded expat professionals disallowed return to Saudi Arabia

Published:  25 Jun at 6 PM
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Yet another group of stranded expats is outside its country of residence with no obvious way in.

Expats living and working in Saudi Arabia who were outside the country when the pandemic struck are now trapped and unable to return until further notice is given by the authority. According to the Directorate of Saudi Passports, the earliest date for the return of such expats is after the pandemic has been declared as ended. The authority will then officially announce permission to return.

This way of dealing with expatriates whose businesses or personal reasons dictated their leaving their countries of residence just before the restrictions were announced has led to worldwide condemnation of the practice, especially when it blocks those married to locals and with families to support. Given that testing can now be successfully applied to returnees, both before they board for their flights as well as on arrival, and quarantine procedures can be put in place, there seems no point in preventing those with legitimate reasons for return.

Also in Saudi Arabia, the authority has urged expatriate professionals to check the validity of their ID cards or face penalties should the cards not be up to date. Should any expat’s Muqeem ID residency permit be out of date, a fine of SR500 will be given, with the amount doubled for a second violation. Should an expat have a third violation, deportation will take place. In April, the kingdom announced a three-month extension of expats’ ID cards for those either outside or in the country.
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