Work visa validity reduced to one year

newsimageJeddah — The validity of employment visas issued by the Ministry of Labor and Social Development (MLSD) for the private sector firms has been reduced from two years to one year. But this will not be applicable to visas issued for government services as well as for domestic workers, according to an order issued by Minister of Labor and Social Development Dr. Ali Al-Ghafis. The decision was taken on the basis of Article 11 of the Labor Law under which the minister can take the procedures that are deemed necessary for improving the efficiency of the employment market. The ministry has started implementing the decision of the minister, the Saudi Press Agency reported. On Sunday, the minister issued another order allowing foreign mothers of Saudis as well as non-Saudi children of Saudi women to work in those professions which are restricted only to Saudi nationals. Employing anyone in this category will be counted as one Saudi employee while calculating the percentage of Nitaqat Saudization program. Both Saudis and expatriates welcomed the decision. Mohammad Al-Owain, a media person, described it a “right decision.” This decision offers a decent life to those families which have been living in the Kingdom for decades years, he said. Shadia Al-Ghamdi, a Saudi woman, noted that any company that refuses to employ foreign mothers of Saudi children or non-Saudi children of Saudi women should be fined. Mohammad Al-Saad hoped individuals included in this decision will be offered nationality soon. Abdul Aziz Al-Nigamshi said non-Saudi children of female citizens should also be considered as Saudi nationals. However, some people said that non-Saudi children of Saudi women should not be given citizenship. Nawal Al-Shihri said that many expatriates tend to marry Saudi women just for the sake of benefiting from them. Therefore, she is against giving citizenship to non-Saudi husbands and children of Saudi women. Karim ibn Saleh said that Saudi woman who accepts a foreigner as her husband forfeits her right to seek citizenship for her children. Maha, daughter of a Saudi mother, asked: “Why do you offer nationality to non-Saudi children of Saudi men but not to children of Saudi women?” Three Shoura Council members — Latifa Al-Shalan, Haia Al-Munai and Ata Al-Sabti — have presented a recommendation to modify the nationality system to allow non-Saudi children of Saudis to obtain citizenship.