Drive against illegal staff hits private schools

April 6, 2013

Saudi Arabian authorities in the southwestern province of Asir said that their relentless campaign against infiltrators would not be suspended or halted.

“The aim is to make sure that the region is free of people trying to enter the kingdom or staying in the country illegally,” Prince Faisal Bin Khalid, the governor of the province, said after announcing that the authorities were able to apprehend 16,374 infiltrators in one month.

Residents in the high plateau region have recently complained about the high number of foreigners, mainly from Ethiopia, attempting to force their way illegally into the area.

Prince Faisal said that he appreciated the role of the security servicemen in helping foil the smuggling and infiltration attempts, but singled out local citizens for their vigilance and cooperation.

“I would like to stress that our citizens are the most important component of the security system and that they are full partners in preserving security in the region,” he said in remarks published by local daily Al Eqtisadiya on Thursday.

Saudi Arabia has launched a crackdown on foreigners overstaying their resident permits, trying to enter the country illegally or taking up jobs without proper documents.

Reports about inspection visits to private schools to check whether all the expatriate teachers and administrators had been hired through official channels have resulted in a low turnout of the staff.

Non-government schools had been recruiting foreign teachers sponsored by their husbands’ employers and who were not entitled to work.

The wide practice was tolerated by the authorities, but was never officially endorsed.

However, with the recent decision to reform the labour market, fight illegal practices and promote the employment of Saudis in all sectors, the practice has come under the spotlight and the authorities said that they wanted to end it.

Wary about possible legal issues, more than 10 international and private schools in the Eastern province suspended courses and remained closed since Tuesday, private education sources told Al Eqtisadiya.

“Several parents on Tuesday received messages on their mobiles requesting them to pick up their children from schools,” the sources said. “School owners spoke with the education ministry about the situation and pushed for a compromise, but the ministry told them that it could not interfere in decisions involving other ministries.”

The inspections teams are made up of delegates from the labour and commerce ministries and the passports and security agencies.



About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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