Saudis not accepting newly-designed Indian passport

Dubai, May 20 (IANS) Passport authorities in Saudi Arabia are refusing to accept new passports issued by Indian missions in that country and submitted by Indian expatriates for updating.

The Saudis have refused to transfer data from old passports to the new ones, saying they were officially not informed about the new design of the Indian passports, the Arab News reported Monday.

While the old passport had its holder’s photograph on the second page, the newly designed one has it on the third page.

Even after the Indians obtained a letter from the Indian consulate in Jeddah, the Saudi authorities refused to relent, saying the confirmation about the validity of the new passport should come from the Saudi foreign ministry.

Indian workers have been thronging the Indian embassy in Riyadh and the consulate in Jeddah ever since a new labour policy was implemented in that country.

The Nitaqat or Saudisation policy makes it mandatory for all Saudi companies to reserve 10 percent of jobs for Saudi nationals.

The Indian missions in that country earlier appealed to all affected Indian workers to either rectify their residency status or leave the country.

Affected workers have been trying to take advantage of a grace period announced by the Saudi authorities that is currently underway and will end July 3.

There are around two million expatriate Indians in Saudi Arabia, many of them blue collar workers.

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