Diplomats worried about workers’ apathy towards correcting status in KSA | Pakistan Today

Diplomats worried about workers’ apathy towards correcting status in KSA

The Diplomatic Quarter (DQ) is back to being a peaceful and quiet diplomatic enclave after Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) extended the grace period for foreign workers to leave or correct their status from July 3 to November 3.
While many are happy that they could enjoy again being in the DQ for its peaceful ambience and the sight of lush green foliage that calm down frayed nerves, quite a few are worried.
“The bumper-to-bumper traffic and the long queues of workers at their respective embassies during office hours are gone. But this could mean that concerned foreign workers have eased their efforts in following up on their papers,” a South Asian diplomat said.
A visit to the DQ yesterday showed a small number of workers at the premises of their respective embassies compared to the long lines before the grace period was extended on July 1.
With the temperature rising to 44 degrees Celsius at 1pm, they were there to follow up on their travel documents and to correct their status. A few women in abayas were seen resting under the palm trees outside the Indonesian Embassy.
The diplomat said that with the tension that gripped foreign workers before the July 3 deadline to leave or correct their status gone, they are relaxing for the time being before they continue to follow up on their exit visas or to correct their status.
“This is human nature, but they should not be totally relaxed. They should continue following up on their papers as soon as possible. They should remember that the four-month extension is not a long time,” he said.
He added that of the total number of workers who obtained travel documents, only a handful have left so far for their respective countries.
“The illegal expatriates should reciprocate to the kingdom’s gesture by showing desire to get their exit visas and leave. Those who intend to continue working here should hasten to get their status corrected,” he said.
Anticipating that many would relax their efforts after the grace period extension, diplomats of manpower supplying countries called on their respective nationals to continue following up on their papers.
“I call upon all concerned compatriots to take advantage of the deadline extension. Have peace of mind by having your exit visas and leave or correcting your status before the second grace period extension ends on Nov. 3,” an Asian ambassador said.
Observers claimed that the four-month grace period may not be even enough to process all the exit visas of all those issued travel documents because of the slow procedure at the Jawazat.
Record shows that of the 8,000 Pakistanis who were issued emergency exit passes, only 3,000 have left so far.
Of the 10,337 Filipinos with travel documents, only 565 have left the kingdom. Some 90,000 to 95,000 workers approached the Indian Embassy for exit visas and correction of status but only half of the number have completed the procedure while 35,000 Nepalese have been issued travel documents.
“While there have been complaints about the slow procedure at the Passport Department, the foreign workers concerned should keep their fingers crossed and keep a positive attitude regarding their situation,” said another diplomat.

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