An April 15, 2013, press release from the Department of Foreign Affairs

The grace period given by the Saudi government is meant for violators of the Saudization policy (nitaqat)—specifically those foreign workers who work for employers who are not their sponsors. Those who fall under this category have violated Saudi labor law.

On the other hand, those who have long run away from their original sponsors and no longer have valid residency permits (iqamas)  or passports are a different category altogether. Theirs is an immigration problem. The remedies available for these types of workers are different.

For workers affected by the Saudization policy, they need to be able to transfer from their original sponsors to their current employer.

On the other hand, for workers falling under the immigration problem category, they will need to be ready with their last valid iqama or residency card and valid passport or a copy of the last passport. They will need to get in touch with their original sponsors when they first arrived in Saudi Arabia who will issue them a No Objection Certificate.

As of the moment, there is no amnesty for foreign nationals illegally staying in Saudi Arabia. The Filipino community is advised to wait for official announcements from Saudi authorities and Philippine Embassy and Consulate officials on the matter.

Our Embassy, Consulate and Philippine Overseas Labor Offices in Saudi Arabia are always ready to provide appropriate advice and assistance, including repatriation.

Those who wish to come back to the Philippines can only do so after they have completed the procedure prescribed by the Saudi government, which might take some time.

Saudi authorities have to check first if these individuals have pending cases, outstanding debts or some unfinished business in the Kingdom before they are given clearance to leave.

Our Embassy and Consulate officials will also negotiate the fast-tracking of the repatriation process with Saudi authorities on behalf of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).

Frequently Asked Questions

Who will be affected by the recent action of the Saudi authorities on illegal workers?

  • Those who are working with employers other than their own sponsor, with the knowledge of the original sponsor. This includes those who are in the process of transferring their sponsorship but have not finalized it yet.
  • Those who are holders of “freelance” visa or have an iqama but do not or never worked for the sponsor in the iqama.
  • Those who are holder of a dependent’s visa but are employed by individual or company, whether licensed or not as an employer.
  • Those who have absconded from their sponsor, have a valid IQAMA and are working for another sponsor.
  • Those who have absconded from their sponsor, do not have a valid IQAMA and are working for a company or individual. (This is not only a labor law violation but also an immigration violation subject to detention, penalty and deportation).

What action is needed by those who are affected?

Those working with an employer different than their original employer/sponsor should return to their original sponsor and work exclusively under  the said sponsor.  Those on freelance visa should desist from working until they rectify their iqama / sponsorship status.

Those with a dependent visa should stick by their visa status and not continue to work. They are not allowed to work even on part-time basis.  The penalty for a dependent working is deportation of the dependent and the head of the family or expatriate, including a penalty for the employer.

What are the steps for transfer of sponsorship?

The act of transferring sponsorship of workers has been in practice and is sanctioned by the Ministry of Labor. Under present decision, a worker can only transfer to other sponsor/employer after having worked with his current employer for at least two years.

The first thing that the worker should do is to secure his sponsor’s approval of his request to transfer to another sponsor/employer. The procedure then is for his prospective sponsor to write a letter expressing his interest in the worker’s service and requesting for his release. If the conditions are so acceptable to the present sponsor, he should formally consent thereto and sign the release papers. Thereafter, the prospective sponsor should present these documents with the application for transfer of sponsorship and iqama for official approval.

Unless the legal rules and procedures are followed, an employer may not allow his worker to work for others and a worker may not work for other employer. Similarly, an employer may not employ worker of other employers. An employer may not allow a worker to work for his own account and a worker may not work for his own account. (Art. 39, SLL)

I have long absconded from my employer and stayed in the Kingdom with no iqama. What can I do to go home? Under what circumstances will the employer be exempted from shouldering the cost of repatriation?

The employer shall be exempted from the shouldering the cost of return ticket if worker shall have absconded or worked in another employer (Art. 233, SLL) or shall have stopped or resigned from work prior to end of contract. Likewise, a worker shall incur the cost of returning to his home country if he is unfit for work or if he wishes to return to his home country without legitimate reason. (Art. 40 par 2, SLL)

Can a runaway worker demand for his repatriation?

A runaway worker can demand for his immediate repatriation if his employer fails or refused to send him home for an reasonable length of time and his situations falls under any of the circumstances stated above (Q65, A). Should the employer refused to do so, the worker must file a complaint at the Saudi Labor Office.

However, if the workers run away or abscond from his employer for no valid reason or causes, repatriation may be demanded after indemnifying the employer unless the latter waives the payment thereof. Absconding from employer will also give the employer the right to report the matter to the police and immigration authorities. Once reported, a worker can only be repatriated by deportation process.

Noteworthy to remember that if a worker has valid ground or causes of terminating the contract, such as clear violation of contract by the employer, the proper course of action is too file a complaint at the Saudi Labor Office if conciliation is not successful, and not to abscond from the employer.

For those who have absconded from work, and no longer have a valid IQAMA, they are advised to do the following;

  • Contact their sponsor and request a no objection certificate for repatriation.
  • Proceed to the passport office or Jawazat, for settlement of penalties.
  • Seek advice from the Philippine Overseas Labor Office (Labor Section of the Embassy) to allow the POLO to contact the employer, and extend appropriate assistance at the Jawazat or General Directorate of Passports.

What is the possible penalty for the violators?

A legal resident with a valid iqama working for another employer or for his own account shall be subject to termination of the iqama and deportation.

The penalty may include jail time, fines and deportation.

The schedule of violations and corresponding penalties for the iqama and residency regulations is attached.

Is it possible that a worker will be spared from arrest?

The employer and the worker have at least three months to rectify the problem on the employment document.

Can a violator immediately be repatriated if he has money to buy his/her ticket?

A worker found to have violated the labor and residency law has to under a legal process before he can be deported by the authorities. Certain penalties will be imposed, such as renewal and payment for penalty for Iqama.

Who can i call for advice and assistance?

The Embassy in Riyadh, the Consulate in Jeddah, and the POLO under the two missions are always ready to provide appropriate advice and assistance to either category.  However, their respective solutions are different.

Filipinos may call the following hotlines:

POLO Riyadh Hotlines                   0545917834
POLO Eastern                                  0501269742
POLO Central                                   0507537997
POLO Jeddah

Source: www.moi.gov.sa 
Ministry of Interior

No.

Violation Penalties
1 Non-reporting for Iqama renewal prior to three days of its expiry without applicable reason •  If the applicant’s employer is an individual or private company or establishment, he shall be required to pay double the iqama fees.•  If the applicant is working for a governmental institute, the institute is responsible for submitting new iqama and Iqama renewal requests of their personnel within two months of recruiting them and before its expiry. In case of delay, the institution shall be required to investigate with the employee responsible of this delay to decide the disciplinary action for such violation.
2 Resident who fails to prove his holding of an iqama and all information he was asked to present during his residency in the Kingdom If he failed to provide an applicable reason for the concerned authority, he shall be fined as follows:•  1000 S.R. first instance.

•  2000 S.R. second instance.

•  3000 S.R. third instance.

3 Non-reporting to cancel or renew exit/reentry visa or final exit visa prior to its expiry He shall be fined as follows:•  1000 S.R. first instance.

•  2000 S.R. second instance.

•  3000 S.R. third instance.

•  He shall be provided with a new visa if required, as per the statutory procedures.

4 Non-reporting loss of passport or iqama within 24 hours as a maximum He shall be fined as follows:•  1000 S.R. first instance.

•  2000 S.R. second instance.

•  3000 S.R. third instance.

5 Practice of work by the dependants such as wives and children He shall be fined as follows:•  1000 S.R. first instance.

•  2000 S.R. second instance.

•  3000 S.R. third instance and the issue will be referred to the Minister of Interior for his direction towards termination of the violator’s iqama and deport him.

6 Overstaying in the Kingdom upon visa expiry •  The violator shall be subjected to statutory penalties as custody, fining and deporting.•  Finalizing his deporting procedures after collecting the statutory fines, issue an exit visa for him and expedite his travel.

•  If the violator came to visit a resident, the matter shall be referred to the Minister of Interior to issue directives towards the resident who harbored him to terminate his iqama and deport him.

7 Employing an expatriate with a visitor’s visa •  If the visa was valid he shall be deported.•  If the visa was expired he shall be deported after implementing the statutory procedures.

•  The employer shall be fined according to the statutory measures, if the employer is an expatriate resident; he will be reported to the authorities after implementing the statuary penalties towards him, to consider his deportation.

8 Obtaining or helping an individual to obtain a forge iqama or visa by himself. Taking employment or helping any individual to take an employment based on forgery or cheating. •  If the violator is an expatriate, he shall be fined 10,000 S.R. or imprisoned for three months or both, along with the termination of his iqama and deportation from the Kingdom.•  If the violator is a Saudi Citizen, he shall be fined 10,000 S.R. the first time. 15,000 S.R. in the second time along with one-month imprisonment. 15,000 S.R. in the third time along with three months imprisonment. Type of violation shall be considered while applying the penalty.

•  These penalties are applicable to the principal perpetrator, partner and contributor.

•  Paid money shall be confiscated in all cases.

•  Fines are multiplied according to the number of individuals involved and violations.

9 Submitting forgery documents or providing false statements to Saudi authorities in the Kingdom or abroad to obtain for himself or for another individual an iqama or any kind of visas. See penalties in paragraph 8.
10 Forgery, easement or changing the content of foreign travel documents or iqamas, and circulating them. See penalties in paragraph 8.
11 Trading entry visas See penalties in paragraph 8.
12 Delaying application and applicants, by service offices, finalizing applications illegally and dealing with aliens directly (not through the employer), employing expatriates in the office, accepting applications not signed by the employer or authorized signatories and incomplete signatures and attests or exceeding their authorization in expedition specially Saudi passport applications and iqama applications for those who came to the Kingdom with a non-working visa. The following measures shall be taken against any violating service office (despite the prejudice for any penalties provided in statutory as in Forgery, bribery, passport, and iqama regulations):•  In the first instance, an official warning shall be sent to the office by the director of passports office to which the service office pursuer reports, if the violation doesn’t necessitate further action.

•  If the violation was repeated or was a gross one, the matter shall be referred to the Ministry of Commerce (being the authority in charge of issuing licenses to service offices) proposing a suitable penalty of suspension varying from three months, six months or a year or termination of the office’s license according to repetition of violation and its size.

13 Return of the deported alien to the Kingdom after his expulsion. •  In the first instance, the fine is 1000 S.R. and re-deportation.•  For the second instance, the fine is 2000 S.R., five months imprisonment and re-deportation.

•  The fine shall be collected from the deportee immediately upon showing his readiness to pay it, to avoid the possibility of delaying during the finalization of his procedures.

14 Sheltering the overstayer after performing his Hajj or Umrah, harbouring him or assisting him to stay illegally in the country •  If the violator is an expatriate resident, his fines are 10,000 S.R., or one-month imprisonment, or both along with the termination of his iqama and deporting him.•  If the violator is a citizen, his fines in the first instance are 10,000 S.R. and minimum two weeks imprisonment. For the second instance, his fines are 20,000 S.R. and one-month imprisonment. Third instance fines are 30,000 S.R. and three months imprisonment.

•  Fines are multiplied according to the number of individuals involved.

•  If the citizen wasn’t able to pay his fines, he shall be imprisoned for an interval between 1 to 6 months.

•  Publish the violator’s penalty in the local press with the judgment thereon according to the censure instructions.

•  In case of renting a residence to an overstayer, the renter shall be considered a violator. He shall submit a pledge, which shall be kept for future reference. If violation repeated, the housing unit shall be closed for six months, and for one year in the second violation and in the third instance the closure will be for two years.

•  In the first instance, Saudi violator’s age and health condition shall be considered for imprisonment duration, evidenced by attested documents.

15 Hajj, Umrah guest or the Prophet’s Mosque visitor, who is self employed, and works for his own account or who didn’t leave the country after his visa expiry. •  Fine is 10,000 S.R. or one-month imprisonment or both.•  His documents shall be copied and sent to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in order to notify the Saudi Embassy in his country to suspend granting him a visa for Umrah or visit before a year minimally of his deportation.

•  He shall be deported at his own expense.

16 Hajj, Umrah guest or the Prophet’s Mosque visitor, who travels outside Makkah, Jeddah or Madinah during validity of the visa granted to him or after its expiry. •  Fine is 10,000 S.R. or one-month imprisonment or both .•  He shall be deported at his own expense.

•  Investigate the role of the establishment responsible for his entry in the occurrence of the violation before imposing the penalty.

17 Transporting a guest for Hajj, Umrah or the Prophet’s Mosque visitor outside the established routes specified for him by the establishment responsible for his arrival and departure during his visa validity •  If the carrier is an expatriate resident, the fine is 10,000 S.R. or 1 to 3 months imprisonment or both in addition to deportation.•  If the carrier is a citizen, the first instance fine is 10,000 S.R. or 1 to 3 months imprisonment or both. Second instance fine is 20,000 S.R. or 3 to 6 months imprisonment. Third instance fine is 30,000 S.R. or six months imprisonment.

•  Fines are multiplied according to the number of individuals involved.

•  Investigate the role of the establishment responsible for his entry in the occurrence of the violation to be punished if the violation was established.

18 Transportation of an Umrah or Hajj guest, or the Prophet’s Mosque visitor outside the established routes specified for him by the establishment responsible for his arrival and departure after the expiry of the validity of the visa. •  See penalties in paragraph 17.•  Publish the violator’s penalty in the local press with the judgment thereon according to the censure instructions.

 

 

19 Overstayer employment who arrived the Kingdom by non-work visa  •  If the violator is an expatriate resident, the fine is 10,000 S.R. or one-month imprisonment or both in addition to deportation.•  If the violator is a citizen, the first instance fine is 10,000 S.R.. Second instance fine is 20,000 S.R. or one-month imprisonment or both. Third instance fine is 30,000 S.R. or three months imprisonment.

•  Fines are multiplied according to the number of individuals involved.

•  The overstayer shall be deported on his employer’s expenses.

•  In the first instance, the violator shall be deprived from the right to recruit expatriates for one year. Two years for the second instance and three years for the third.

•  If the citizen wasn’t able to pay his fines, he shall be imprisoned for an interval between 1 to 3 months.

•  Publish the violator’s penalty in local press with the judgment thereon according to the censure instructions.

•  Investigate the role of the establishment responsible for the overstayer entry into the country in employing him illegally prior to imposing the penalty.

20 Non-reporting (by the employer) regarding a runaway employee in accordance with instructions regulating this matter. •  In the first instance, the employer fine is 5,000 S.R.. Second instance, fine is 10,000 S.R. and for third, fine is 15,000 S.R. in addition to one-month imprisonment.•  Fines are multiplied according to the number of nonreported runaway employees.

•  The runaway employee shall be deported at his employer’s expense. If he was working for his own, he shall be deported at his own expense.

•  In the first instance, the violator shall be deprived from the right to recruit expatriates for one year. Two years for the second instance and three years for the third.

•  Sending a copy of the management notification to the patrol command to investigate the establishment’s status.

21 Resident working for another employer or for his own account. •  Termination of his iqama and he shall be deported. 
22 Employing an expatriate who was recruited to work for another employer, by an expatriate resident.  • If the employer was an expatriate resident, the fine is 5,000 S.R. or one-month imprisonment or both in addition to deportation.•  If the employer was a citizen, the first instance fine is 5,000 S.R.. Second instance fine is 10,000 S.R. or one-month imprisonment or both. Third instance fine is 20,000 S.R. or three months imprisonment or both.

•  The employer allowing his employee to work for a third party without reporting their runaway in accordance with the respective instructions, shall be penalized with the penalties referred to in paragraphs (a-b-c-d) of violation No. (20), in addition of sending a copy of the management notification to the patrol command to investigate the establishment’s status.

•  Fines are multiplied according to the number of individuals involved.

•  The violator expatriate shall be deported at his employer’s expense. If he was working for his own, he shall be deported at his own expense.

•  In the first instance, the violator shall be deprived from the right to recruit expatriates for one year. Two years for the second instance and three years for the third.

23 Employer leaving his employees working for their own account or in return for amounts, paid by them, to him. •  The employer shall be fined 5,000 S.R. and one month imprisonment for the first instance. Second instance fine is 20,000 S.R. and two months imprisonment. Third instance fine is 50,000 S.R. and three months imprisonment.•  Fines are multiplied according to the number of individuals involved.

•  Expatriate violator shall be deported at his own expenses.

•  In the first instance, the violator shall be deprived from the right to recruit expatriates for one year. Two years for the second instance and three years for the third.

•  Sending a copy of the management notification to the patrol command to investigate the establishment’s status.

24 Employing an infiltrator, accommodating or sheltering him.  •  If the employer was an expatriate resident, the fine is 10,000 S.R. and one month imprisonment in addition to deportation.•  If the employer was a citizen, the first instance fine is 10,000 S.R. and two weeks imprisonment. Second instance fine is 20,000 S.R. and one month imprisonment. Third instance fine is 50,000 S.R. and three months imprisonment.

•  Fines are multiplied according to the number of individuals involved.

•  The infiltrator expatriate shall be deported at the expense of the employer, accommodator or whoever sheltered him.

•  In the first instance, the violator shall be deprived from the right to recruit expatriates for one year. Two years for the second instance and three years for the third in addition of reporting to the Ministry of Commerce or municipality in order to terminate his register or license.

•  Publish the violator’s penalty in local press with the judgment thereon according to the censure instructions.

•  If the violation was committed by an establishment; a copy of the management notification shall be sent to the patrol command to investigate the establishment’s status.

25 Transporting expatriates who doesn’t have legal Iqama (resident permit), expatriates with an expired visa or without IDs within Kingdom regions, including their transport to the Holy shrine of Hajj and Umrah, by means of transport.  •  For the first instance the carrier fine is 10,000 S.R. and one month imprisonment. Second instance fine is 20,000 S.R. and three months imprisonment. Third instance fine is 30,000 S.R. and six months imprisonment.•  Fines are multiplied according to the number of individuals involved.

•  Means of land transport shall be confiscated in case of repeating violation, whether such means were owned by the carrier, the accessory or the colluding party.

•  No confiscation may by effected unless by a judicial judgment.

•  Publish the violator’s penalty in local press with the judgment thereon according to the censure instructions.

•  If the carrier is an expatriate resident, his iqama shall be terminated and he shall be deported to his country after the application of the penalty taken against him.

26 Non-submission (by captains of sail vessel, aircraft pilots and drivers of cars and other means of transport) of the passengers manifest of no passports or equivalent documents and if they recognized that such passengers held no such documents or if they didn’t prevent the above passengers from landing in the Kingdom or from disembarking on its territorial waters or if they allow such passengers to disembark , even though, they were in possession of travel document in ports, airports and points of entry other than the official ones as set out in article three of the Residence Regulations with the exception of the compulsory reasons. •  For the first instance the violator fine is 5,000 S.R.. Second instance fine is 5,000 S.R. or one month imprisonment or both. Third instance fine is 5,000 S.R. and five months imprisonment. 

 

27 Colluding and participating in expatriates’ entry into the Kingdom’s land or territorial waters or assisting them to departure it with the objective of smuggling them out.  • For the first instance the violator fine is 5,000 S.R. or five months imprisonment or both.• Second instance fine is 5,000 S.R. and one year imprisonment in addition of notifying the Board of Grievances in order to confiscate the means of land transport used in smuggling if they were owned by the smuggler, participator or colluder.

• Third instance fine is 5,000 S.R. and two years imprisonment in addition of notifying the Board of Grievances in order to confiscate the means of land transport used in smuggling in accordance with the above.

 

28 Expatriate working for an employer other than the one recruited him and whose name is noted down in his work permit, prior to his release by the latter and the approval of the concerned authority on the services transfer. •  The employee shall be deported from the country at his employer expenses and deprived from the right to return to the Kingdom before the lapse of two years from his deportation date.•  Provide a copy of the worker’s travel documents to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in order to prevent him from coming back during the above mentioned ban period.
29 Submission of false notification regarding a runaway expatriates from their sponsors. •  Violator’s fine is 5,000 S.R. in addition of submitting a written notification to the authority which issued his license in order to study the establishment’s status.
30 Harbouring a runaway expatriate from the employer who recruited him. •  The runaway expatriate fine is 2,000 S.R. or two weeks imprisonment with the termination of his iqama.•  The citizen violator fine is 2,000 S.R. or two weeks imprisonment for the first instance. Second instance fine is 3,000 S.R. or six weeks imprisonment.

•  The runaway expatriate procedures shall be finalized and he shall be deported at the expense of the party harbored him.

31 Runaway resident who was captured by the security authorities or by his employer. •  The runaway resident shall be arrested until the finalization of his deportation procedures.•  The runaway resident shall be deported at the expense of the party that harbored or employed him. If he was captured working for his own account, he shall be deported at his own expense. Employer shall not be obliged to deport him if the period of the notice exceeded three months. He shall then be deported at the expense of the state by written permission from the General Director of Passports.
32 Non-reporting to the Passports Department of the disengagement of any expatriate labourer or his absence from work for two days without stating any reasons. •  In the first instance, the fine is 1,000 S.R.•  For the second instance, the fine is 2,000 S.R.

•  For the third instance, the fine is 3,000 S.R.

•  If the labor was captured working for a third party or for his own account and it was alleged that he runaway, the employer status shall be reviewed to find out his other labors situation and their locations.

33 Employment of an expatriate who has no work license by any company, commercial house, contractor or employer.  •  The employer fine is 1,000 S.R.•  Fines are multiplied according to the number of individuals involved.

 

34 Transporting individuals who aren’t in possession of pilgrimage licenses to Makkah during the period specified by the respective authority  •  If the carrier was an establishment, it shall be fined 2,000 S.R. at the first instance, 5,000 S.R. in the second and 10,000 S.R. at the third. If the carrier was a citizen or resident working for his own account, they shall receive the same penalty.•  Fines are multiplied according to the number of individuals involved.

 dfa.gov.ph

 
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