Dubai: Saudi Arabia has announced that the hundreds of expatriate workers, who were declared absconders by their Saudi employers, can avoid jail and return home provided they have no criminal cases pending against them.
Such individuals will be allowed to settle outstanding fines, pay for their tickets, and have an undertaking from their consulates that they would leave in 72 hours, according to a newspaper report.
These conditions are part of a circular sent out to all consulates by representative of the Foreign Ministry at the General Services Center at the deportation center near Makkah, the Arab News reported.
Such a concession was first proposed by the Pakistani mission because of the many distressed workers from the country, it said.
Pakistan Consul General Aftab Khokher said that such cases will now be processed by the consulate adding that "those who have been declared huroob (absconding) will not have to spend time in jail as was the case in the past."
The workers must be taken by their consulates to the Shumaisi center for fingerprinting and they should have passports issued by their consulates, he said.
The consulate will start the registration of the workers and find out if they are facing any criminal charges or have to pay fines, the Consul said.
"Once everything is clear, we will take these workers in groups to the deportation center for fingerprinting and get their exit papers processed," he said.
Many expatriates, especially from South and Southeast Asian countries, had previously complained about being declared absconders by their employers in Saudi Arabia.
Once declared an absconder, the worker could not got home through regular procedures, and had to be arrested by Saudi police and brought a local detention centre.