Seasonal visas only for two holy cities
JEDDAH: ARAB NEWS
Published — Sunday 6 April 2014
Seasonal work visas will only be issued at labor offices in Makkah and Madinah, according to a recent decision made by the Council of Ministers.
Companies applying for such visas will henceforth be required to have at least a branch office in either region, said one source.
The decision is expected to drastically reduce visa trafficking and system manipulation.
The Council of Ministers has also demanded that agents recruiting temporary workers complete projects within that time frame to avoid foreigners overstaying.
The Royal Court also made a decision to eliminate costs borne by the government on behalf of the Islamic Development Bank (IDB), which previously included paying fees for the organization’s seasonal visas.
The decision abolishes previous provisions that allow butchers, seasonal laborers and vets recruited by the IDB to perform the Haj pilgrimage at the state’s expense.
The council has agreed to refer the new list of regulations for the issuance of seasonal visas to the Shoura Council.
Seasonal work visas, temporary work visas or visa extensions will each cost SR1,000, according to a recent proposal.
Legislative bodies will be tasked with issuing permits for Labor Ministry inspectors to enter factories and companies during the Haj season to ensure that expat workers are legally employed.
The Labor Ministry has also been requested to produce a guide explaining rules for issuing temporary visas, which will also include stipulations such as diversifying recruitment from several labor-exporting countries.
The guide will also emphasize that employers have laborers undertake the tasks that they were originally hired for and warned that violators would incur fines.