After only reporting on cancelled visas and family tax chaos back in July, this month is set for more expat disruption in Saudi Arabia. However, this time, it appears the penalties could be warranted. It is reported that those working illegally or violating the Kingdom’s labour laws will be punished. So far, the list of reprimands includes deportation, large fines and up to six months in jail.
Saudi Arabia’ General Directorate of Passports has expressed that expats would face the penalties come the end of an amnesty back in the latter part of July. This amnesty was put in place to allow expats to leave the Kingdom free of punishment. Now, however, the new rules are being strictly followed by Saudi officials.
Local reporters have also unveiled that Saudi nationals are being promised cash rewards for handing over information of expat violators. It is rumoured that people are receiving 50,000 riyals (£10,082) for reporting expats to the police.
Information suggests that expats who are first-time violators will face a fine of 10,000 riyals (£2,105) and deportation. Second-time offenders will have the financial amount raised to 25,000 riyals (£5,040), accompanied by a one-month jail sentence and deportation.
It has been reported that rules are strict and even expats who were breaking the rules unknowingly will be disciplined.
Six Months in Prison for Expats
Each case will be assessed and charged individually but, along with deportation, maximum penalties are costly. Fines will reach as high as 50,000 riyals (£10,075) and some expats can expect to face six months behind bars.
As mentioned, the new penalties have put in place months are the Kingdom launched a campaign that gave expat law and residency violators a chance to leave the country. ‘A Nation Without Violators’ was a three-month amnesty period, which was later extended to four months. During this period 600,000 expats left Saudi Arabia and only 14,000 have returned with the legal requirements.