Abdullah Omar Khayyat
The increasing number of foreigners, whether legal or illegal, in the Kingdom is one of the most important economic issues facing our country. Expatriates occupy jobs that could be otherwise filled by unemployed Saudis and they even crowd our streets with old, polluting cars unfit for the road.
To make matters worse, a large number of foreigners are illegally staying in our country and they have brought many vices, including theft, drug trafficking and prostitution with them.
To resolve the problem, the Shoura Council recommended to the supreme authorities that a committee, comprising representatives of four ministries, be formed so it can figure out a way to put an end to the number of illegal foreigners in our country once and for all.
The deputy chairman of the Shoura Council’s foreign affairs committee, Saddaqa Fadil, told Al-Sharq newspaper some of the recommendations made included the deportation of all illegal foreigners and taking necessary measures to prevent a recurrence of the problem in the future. Furthermore, the committee asked the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to coordinate its efforts with countries whose citizens overstay in the Kingdom so preventive measures can be taken in this regard.
Fadil said the report prepared by the Shoura Council’s foreign affairs committee put the number of illegal foreigners in the Kingdom at five million. He noted that overstayers are mostly concentrated in Makkah, Madinah, Jeddah, Taif, Yanbu, Riyadh, the Eastern Province, Asir, Najran and Jazan and said the illegal residents were responsible for about 60 percent of crimes committed in the Kingdom.
Fadil also said illegal foreigners constitute a serious threat to the country due to the crimes they commit such as spreading drugs and alcohol, committing murder, prostitution and selling pornographic material.
With such a large number of overstayers present in the Kingdom, landlords are taking advantage of a burgeoning housing market and renting out their properties to them. However, since undocumented aliens pose a security and economic threat to the Kingdom and its citizens, the best way to counter the phenomenon is to ensure that landlords verify a potential tenant’s legal status and only rent to those who reside here legally. Those who violate the Kingdom’s rules should be persecuted to the full extent of the law.