The General Directorate of Passports (Jawazat) in Saudi Arabia has reiterated its warning to expatriates who work for themselves, that they will face severe penalties including imprisonment, fines, and deportation.
The warning comes as part of the government’s efforts to regulate the labor market and protect the rights of Saudi workers.
According to the Jawazat, expatriates who work for themselves will face a financial penalty of up to SR50,000, imprisonment for up to 6 months, and deportation from the country.
The penalties also apply to those who employ or allow their staff to work for themselves or for other employers.
The government has called on everyone to report any violations of residency (Iqama) and border security laws by contacting the emergency numbers 911 in Makkah and Riyadh regions, and 999 in the rest of the Saudi regions.
The move is aimed at encouraging people to report any suspicious activities that may threaten national security and public safety.
It is worth mentioning that the Jawazat had earlier warned employers who allow their staff to work for others or for their own account, that they will face severe penalties including a financial fine, imprisonment, and a ban on recruitment.
Employers who violate the law will be imposed a financial fine of up to SR100,000, imprisonment for up to 6 months, and a ban on recruitment for up to 5 years.
The government’s move to regulate the labor market comes as part of its Vision 2030 initiative, aimed at reducing the country’s dependence on oil, diversifying the economy, and creating jobs for Saudi citizens.
The initiative includes a number of measures to improve the working conditions of Saudi workers and protect their rights, including the Saudization policy which aims to replace expatriate workers with Saudi nationals.
The policy has led to the creation of thousands of jobs for Saudi citizens in various sectors, including retail, hospitality, and healthcare.
However, it has also resulted in a shortage of skilled labor in some sectors, such as engineering and information technology, which are dominated by expatriate workers.
The government has launched a number of initiatives to address the shortage of skilled labor and encourage more Saudi citizens to enter these sectors, including the National Transformation Program and the Human Resources Development Fund.
These initiatives aim to provide training and education programs for Saudi citizens, as well as financial incentives for companies that hire and train Saudi workers.
Despite these efforts, many expatriates continue to work for themselves or for other employers, in violation of the law.
Some have argued that the penalties are too severe and that the government should focus on creating a more conducive environment for businesses and entrepreneurs.
Others have welcomed the government’s move to regulate the labor market and protect the rights of Saudi workers, arguing that it will lead to a more balanced and fair system.
They have called on the government to enforce the law rigorously and ensure that all employers and employees abide by the regulations.