(MENAFN - Arab News) Many expats born in the Kingdom are unable to transfer their elderly fathers to their sponsorship. The elderly expats have retired from work in most cases and need their son's sponsorships to legally stay in the Kingdom.
The private sector does not sponsor retired individuals so if a son working in the Kingdom cannot sponsor his father, the latter must go back to his home country.
It is very difficult for many of them to return home because after having spent a long time in the Kingdom, their families have severed ties with their native country. Instead, they prefer to live with their sons working in the Kingdom.
According to the Passports Department, it is the Labor Office which is responsible for transferring the sponsorships of private sector employees.
Many of the aged expatriates have been working in private companies for more than 40 years but changes in labor regulations such as the Nitaqat have forced them to retire.
Mohamed Salah Al-Deen, a Sudanese resident in Jeddah who worked as finance manager in a private company for 40 years and is now retired, has been trying to transfer his sponsorship to his youngest son, a marketing executive in the private sector.
However, the Passport Department refused to comply with his request. Mohamed retired from the company in 2005 but the employer did not renew his sponsorship. "In the past, a son was permitted to take his father's sponsorship, but not anymore. I have been to both the Passport and Labor departments but they have been unable to help me," he said.
Expatriates who want to stay with their sons are now transferring their sponsorships to any private company for an annual fee of SR2,500.
This is what Youssef Aloosh, a Syrian resident of Jeddah, did. He worked for 38 years as an engineer. At the age of 70 he was unable to transfer his sponsorship to any of his five sons. "During my stay in the Kingdom, relations with my family back in Syria which is going through a difficult period were cut off. At this age I cannot leave my children and grandchildren in the Kingdom to stay alone in Syria. So I paid SR2,000 to a private firm to be my sponsor and will have to pay the same amount at the time of my iqama (residency permit) renewal," he told Arab News.
The aged expats are the first generation of migrants who participated in the growth of the country by contributing to the early infrastructural developments. However, after retirement they have to transfer their sponsorship to retain legal residency according to Saudi regulations. There are an estimated 8 million expatriates in the Kingdom of which 3 million were born here.