Saudi Arabia passport official investigated for ‘improper behaviour’
A Saudi passport officer is being investigated after he was filmed pushing foreign labourers out of a makeshift waiting area with a belt.
The suspension and investigation of the officer was ordered by the Saudi interior minister for breaking the rules and regulations of security-related work, the spokesperson for the passports directorate said.
“This type of behaviour cannot be tolerated or condoned under any excuse and the proper measures will be taken,” the spokesperson said, quoted by local news site Sabq.
Thousands of foreigners staying illegally in the vast Saudi kingdom are taking advantage of a grace period ordered by King Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz to regularise their situation or leave the country without being fined.
However, their numbers have put tremendous pressure on Saudi passport and police authorities and reports are emerging that some of the foreigners had to queue up to 24 hours, often under the scorching midday sun, to be able to submit their papers. Some complained that after the long wait period, they were turned back for not presenting the right documents.
Saudi Arabia is home to 9.2 million foreigners, making up one third of the total population.
The authorities have recently launched a massive campaign to introduce sweeping reforms to the labour market to tackle unemployment amid local men and women and to address the thorny issue of “marginal labourers”, mainly unskilled Asians with no fixed jobs.