Saudi Arabia’s Shoura Council will soon discuss a draft law that would allow illegal foreign workers to obtain a residency permit if they fulfil certain conditions.
The proposal by former Shoura member Dr Sadaqa Fadil will be discussed after the Eid Al Adha holiday, according to Saudi Gazette.
It includes the formation of a committee at the Ministry of Interior to study the capabilities of illegal workers.
This committee would have the power to grant illegal migrants a residency permit if they are Muslim, aged between 30 and 50, are in good health, know written and spoken Arabic, have stayed in the country more than five years and know a profession required by the job market, according to the publication.
The committee could also choose to deport them if they are deemed to be occupying a position that could be held by a Saudi.
Fadil told the publication that illegal migrants could create political problems, increase crime, impact infrastructure and may even see international pressure on the kingdom to provide them with nationality and special care.
“Illegal foreign migrants are likely to commit crimes and engage in various negative practices that would negatively affect the society. They will also create security problems,” he was quoted as saying.
The Shoura Council previously rejected his proposal saying the country’s broader laws already addressed the issue.
The kingdom recently ended a 120-day amnesty period that allowed illegal workers and residents to fly back to their home country without paying overstay fines and return for legal work at a later date.
Some 600,000 violators used the amnesty to return home, significantly less than the one million some had expected.
The kingdom is now undertaking a crackdown campaign that will see illegal workers arrested and punished.