Saudi introduces severe penalties ruling for expat ‘violators’

Saudi Arabia has introduced a raft of severe penalties for expats including large fines, deportation and up to six months in jail, if they violate the country’s labour laws, or if they are found to be working illegally.

According to Saudi Arabia’s General Directorate of Passports, expat workers will face the newly-introduced severe penalties following the closure on 25 July, of an amnesty for expats to leave the country without penalties.

And according to local reports, Saudi nationals are now also being encouraged and financially incentivised to report potential violators to officials. A bounty of  50,000 riyal (US$13,332) is being offered as a reward to anyone who reports illegal expats to authorities.

Saudi Arabia’s local daily newspaper Al Madina reported that the harsh penalties are now in place and are being enforced by Saudi officials.

According to the report first-time violators will face a fine of SR10,000 (US$2666), and deportation, while second-time offenders will face a SR25,000 (US$6670) fine, in addition to a one-month jail sentence, and deportation.

Six months jail sentence

Depending on individual cases, maximum penalties can reach up to a fine of SR50,000 (US$13,332,) six months in jail, and deportation.

As reported, the penalties comes months after the kingdom launched a campaign that gave residency and labour law violators the chance to leave the country without having to face sanctions or jail time.

Saudi’s ‘A Nation without Violators’ campaign gave illegal workers a three-month amnesty period to sort out their paperwork and leave the country (the period was later extended by one month). It saw around 600,000 expat workers leave with only 14,000 returning with the correct paperwork thus far.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Gary Robinson
Deputy Editor, International Investment and Head of Video at Open Door Media Publishing. A fully qualified journalist and filmmaker with more than 20 years' financial services experience, both as journalist and originally as an IFA.

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