Expatriate workers who run away from their employers in Saudi Arabia may soon be allowed to return home without being jailed, a Saudi news site reported Thursday.
But the expatriates must have no criminal cases pending, settle outstanding fines, and pay for their tickets, Arab News reported.
They must also have an undertaking from their consulates assuring they will leave in 72 hours, the report said.
Arab News said it got a copy of the circular dated Nov. 18 containing such conditions, from Pakistan Consul General Aftab Khokher. The circular was sent to all consulates by Muhammad Abdulwahab Nugali, representative of the Foreign Ministry, it added.
Khokher said the concession had been proposed by the Pakistani mission due to the large number of distressed workers from there.
Under the same circular, workers who want to go home must be taken by their consulates to the Shumaisi center for fingerprinting and they should have passports issued by their consulates.
Before this, an expatriate declared a runaway had to return to his or her sponsor and police to sort things out.
On the other hand, many expatriates including those from Southeast Asian countries, had complained they were declared absconders by unscrupulous sponsors who merely wanted to settle scores or obstruct lawsuits.
An expatriate declared an absconder could not go home through regular procedures, as the Saudi police had to arrest and detain them at the local deportation center. — Joel Locsin/JDS, GMA News