Recruitment offices and their fees

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Al-Watan

SUPPOSE I run a service office and you need to finish some procedures, which can be done by yourself in less than five minutes from your home. I will offer you my services and you can come to my office during business hours and you have to pay for every service. With regard to fees I would not advise you to look for a competitive price in the market because my office offers the best price.

All the above is illogical, but actually it is a ground reality. I decided to conduct a quick survey of 25 recruitment offices in the Kingdom. I wondered at the compatibility of the electronic visa system with the electronic awakening we currently witness in various fields.

The recruitment system on the Foreign Ministry's website may sound good, because individuals and institutions can complete visa procedures at the push of a button. However, completing the authorization process requires the applicant to communicate with a service office. The charge for obtaining a Moroccan maid's visa ranged from SR700 to SR2,000 and an Indian driver from SR500 to SR800. Prices vary, although the worker's nationality remains the same.

Here I would like to raise some questions: Why don't they fix fees and commissions for recruitment offices after reaching an agreement with countries that they deal with? We know that SR30 is the price of attesting a document by the Foreign Ministry. Since authorization is in the form of a document, why don't they treat it like certificates and letters?

The second question is: Why does the citizen need a middleman between himself and the Foreign Ministry to work as an agent for him? From the address on the ministry's official website (e-visa platform), the person thinks that the system is similar to Abshir, which verifies the identity of the person by sending the verification code via text message. It's simple and saves time and money.

When I asked recruitment offices whether I could enter the system and fill out the form by myself, everyone responded negatively. When asked the reason some of them replied that they have got access on the basis of an agreement between the ministry and their offices. I doubt about such an agreement, as the ministry would not allow those offices to charge random amounts in fees.

Even if the process is completed through a recruitment office, you will see that the office itself has completed the process with the help of another office. Surprisingly, when you see the application form for authorization you find that it contains only nine columns and you have to pay SR2,000 to fill it, despite the fact that you have all the required information at hand.

You have to enter the following information in the form: the passport number of the authorized person, the employer, port of arrival, occupation, the amount paid and payment number, number of persons, observations if any, visa number and identification number.

The solution to the problem is simply to set fixed prices for offices and educate individuals and institutions.

We should also make the system devoid of wasta or nepotism.


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