MANILA, Philippines - To combat forgery and entry of criminals into the country, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) has imposed the mandatory fingerprinting for the resident permit of all expatriate workers, including Filipinos, online news site Arab News reported.
Major General Salim Al-Belaihed, director general of the Passport Department said that they would not accept applications for iqama (resident permit) without fingerprints.
“Fingerprinting will be required for issuing new iqamas (resident permits), changing professions and transferring sponsorships," Al-Belaihed said.
The passport chief also urged employers to ensure their workers’ fingerprints are taken when applying for the resident permit to avoid unnecessary delays.
Based from the Philippine Overseas Employment Agency’s statistics in 2006, about 223, 459 Filipino land-based workers are employed in Saudi Arabia.
Al-Belaihed said the department has already installed fingerprinting systems in Makkah, Riyadh, Jeddah, Dammam, Abha, Al-Ahsa, Taif and Unaizah in Qassim Province.
“It is easier to introduce the system in small cities where the number of expatriates is much smaller compared to big cities like Riyadh and Jeddah," he said.
The new system would be implemented at entry points and would take three to four minutes per person. The passport department also plans to implement the fingerprinting system for Saudi nationals.
The fingerprinting system for iqamas was implemented on Saturday. - Mark Joseph Ubalde, GMANews.TV