Resident visas for kin of Saudi expatriate workers

Dubai: Millions of expatriates in Saudi Arabia including Indians are heaving a sigh of relief as the government here has decided to issue permanent resident visas for wives and children of the workers, without considering their profession.

The country's foreign ministry said permanent resident and visit visas will be issued to those in 'white-collar' jobs such as engineers, doctors and executives and would only look at the financial status of the applicant, Arabic daily Al-Yaum reported.

"The ministry's office in Riyadh issued such recruitment visas for three days last week and stopped it temporarily. It is expected that the ministry would resume the service next month," a ministry official told the paper.

Following the report, a large number of Indian workers have approached the Indian Embassy in Riyadh and consulate in Jeddah to include their spouses' names in their passports.

Indian missions are now issuing new passports after including spouses' names.

The news is a big relief for many of the seven million expatriates, who are unable to bring their families due to their profession written on their 'iqama' (identity cards).

"The family visa is no more linked with profession," the official said, adding that the ministry stopped processing applications in order to implement the new criteria.

People who want to include the names of spouses should attach attested marriage certificates and those who have married recently should register their marriages by producing relevant documents, the official added.