Justin, a native of Kanyakumari, whose exit period expired more than four years ago, paid a fine of 1,000 riyals and left the country. He was in trouble after the sponsor informed him that he had to pay a fine of 40,000 Riyals (Rs. 8.83 lakhs) since the exit period expired for renewing the iqama.
After nine years, Justin is going to his hometown. Justin visited Saudi for the first time 22 years ago. Worked in construction sector in Riyadh. Obtained final exit from current sponsor in late 2019 intending to return to Saudi on new visa. The covid Pandemic started when he was ready to go home.
He was postponing going to the country because he thought that if he went to the country due to covid, he would not be able to come back with a new visa. He continued to work in Saudi. Not going to the country after getting excited led Justin to a big legal entanglement.
For two years without iqama, he was afraid of being seen by the police and other officials and spent his life. Worked with the fear of being in the country illegally and being caught or not and facing jail time. Meanwhile, the Ministry of Labor has frozen the services of the sponsor as the exited worker has not left the country.
When the sponsor informed Justin that the documents should be corrected as soon as possible, the efforts for this started. 13,500 Riyals was paid to Justin’s sponsor as a penalty for getting Iqama. After waiting for six months and not getting a reply, when I approached the sponsor again, I learned that there is a penalty of 40,000 Riyals for the renewal of Iqama since the exit period has expired.
As it was difficult to find Rs 9 lakhs, Justin Keli approached the charity section of the cultural venue. Keli brought Justin’s matter to the attention of the Indian Embassy and submitted an application to the embassy seeking help in going home. Waited up to three months for the turn. Meanwhile, the Saudi authorities have decided to pay a fine of 1,000 riyals to those who have expired their exit period regardless of the period. This was also the result of the continuous efforts of the Indian Embassy.
As a result of the Embassy’s efforts, Justin’s return journey was made possible when he got an exit visa to return home through Tarheel (deportation center). Although it is not clear how long the exemption will last, the embassy has decided to help as many people as possible who are suffering like Justin.