Feb 06 2012
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Sponsors use Hafiz to their advantage
The move is apparently to cash in on the Hafiz unemployment assistance program. "There is a rush on the part of some Saudis to submit the passports of their workers at the Passport Office after putting them on the 'hurub' (run away list). Many Saudis who run small establishments are also coming forward to cancel their commercial registration with an eye on taking advantage of the Hafiz program," he said, adding that this is more obvious in the case of individual sponsors who have a limited number of workers, such as housemaids and drivers, Al-Watan newspaper reported Sunday. These Saudis are eager to register with the Human Resources Development Fund (HRDF) as jobless people to take advantage of the Hafiz assistance.
Col. Al-Nasir, who is also director of the Halat Ammar border point passport office, said this trend has become a big headache for the passport officials. "The Passport Department is struggling to cope with the rising tide of complaints about runaway workers. We are forced to intensify inspection raids to catch the runaways," he said, adding that this puts a heavy burden on the passport officials. "There are also difficulties in looking after a huge number of those arrested at the deportation center," he said.
Echoing the same view, Mansour Al-Sharif, director of labor office in Tabuk, said his department has received several complaints from workers against their sponsors during the last four months. "Their complaints were attached with evidence to support their claim that they are still with their sponsors and not runaways," he said, while attributing such false complaints to sheer dishonesty.
Abdullah Al-Balawi, owner of a public service and recruitment office, underlined the need for introducing a mechanism to protect the rights of workers, as well as to frame strict conditions to avoid the situation where employees run away from their sponsors. He also called for reviewing the existing system that allows sponsors to put their workers on the runaway list.
Meanwhile, an Arab national who arrived in the Kingdom on a labor visa four months ago told the newspaper that his sponsor warned that he would be put on a runaway list if he failed to get a release within a short period of time. According to the worker, the sponsor's warning came after cancellation of his establishment's commercial registration, apparently to take advantage of the Hafiz unemployment assistance.
© Arab News 2012
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