Published On:30 March 2013
Posted by Indian Muslim Observer

‘The money that I earn is being spent in this country’

By Tariq A. Al-Maeena

Expatriates living in the Kingdom have every reason to feel uncertain nowadays. With new laws and directives being issued concerning the conditions of employment and residency for the guest worker, they can be excused for a bit of lightheadedness.

It is also understandable that the Kingdom, considering the turbulent events taking place regionally, is exercising greater efforts to address a rising issue of concern, and that is the unemployment of its nationals. Laws that seek to promote the employment of Saudis are quickly being passed to address this area of national concern.

But the application of such laws and directives is often misconstrued or misinterpreted by those charged with applying the rules. Take the story of A.N., an expatriate who relates his ordeal with one organ of our government while he seeks a humanitarian resolution.

He writes: “I’m a 37-year-old Pakistani national. I was in my mother’s lap when I landed in Saudi Arabia. According to my mother, I was only six months old at that time. My father was already working for a reputable local company. This basically means that I have been in the Kingdom for the last 37 years and my father has served the country for almost 40 years.

“Recently my father retired at the age of 62. And here starts our ordeal! I’m the eldest of his children and the only one in the Kingdom. According to our tradition, we all live in the same dwelling, which is an apartment large enough for my parents and my wife and three kids.

“What an honor it is for a son to be around his parents in their elderly age whereby he can serve them; and what a relief and pleasure for elderly parents to be surrounded by grandchildren and a caring daughter-in-law.

“When my father retired, I started the process of transferring him under my sponsorship. It should have been a straightforward and simple procedure, and a lot of my friends have done something similar. I went to the Passport Department with my father with a complete set of documents and to our shock, I was met with this response: ‘This is not allowed’!

“Recovering from our initial shock, I asked: ‘What do you mean by that –Not allowed….there must be a way?’ The officer simply shrugged and then we were asked to leave.

“So ever since then, I have been trying to figure out what to do and how to resolve this issue. Below are some points for the decision makers to consider after which I rest my case.

My parents are both 63 and moving toward their ‘final destination’. Believe me they know that and think about it all the time. The last thing they want is to worry about their ‘Iqama’.

We live in a large apartment and accordingly pay a handsome rent, meaning the money that I earn is being spent within the country.

Since I have two extra mouths to feed, it means more groceries, again meaning that the money that I earn is staying within the country.

They are both 63 years of age, and of course I shall be making sure that they have the best medical insurance coverage. Meaning once again that the money that I earn is staying within the country.

They will be traveling to Pakistan at least once a year to see their elderly brothers and sisters. I will be purchasing their airfare on the national airline. Meaning, the money that I earn is staying within the country.

They will be spending weeks and weeks in Makkah and Madinah. Meaning the money that I earn is staying within the country.

“I swear that not a single penny of the Saudi government has ever been ‘wasted’ on a non-Saudi like me. All the financial investments ever made on my behalf were by my parents, and much of it was on our education. They made sure that my brother, sister and I got the best within their means. In fact, they often did things beyond their means at great self-sacrifice just for our future and comfort.

“Finally, I often wonder whether my old folks are going insane. My younger brother Faisal was born in Jeddah (1978) and if memory serves me right he was actually named after the late King Faisal. Well, he is a US citizen now and pleading with his parents to join him in America. And guess what? They are reluctant; they don’t want to leave their home in the Kingdom. Stupid, isn’t it! Have a good day. — A confused person.”

Why does A.N. or many in a similar situation get treated in this manner? Is this our way of thanking those who have served in the development of this country? His parents will have absolutely no impact on our unemployment dilemma, and neither will they be draining the government of valuable resources.

So why then does the Passport Department dismiss this man’s application so callously? Have we lost touch with our sense of compassion and morality?

[The author can be reached at talmaeena@aol.com. Follow him on Twitter @talmaeena.]

(Courtesy: Saudi Gazette)

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Posted by Indian Muslim Observer on March 30, 2013. Filed under , , , , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Feel free to leave a response

By Indian Muslim Observer on March 30, 2013. Filed under , , , , . Follow any responses to the RSS 2.0. Leave a response

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