(MENAFN - Arab News) The Saudi government intends to exempt members of the Burmese community in the Kingdom from paying residency fees for the next four years.
The move is an incentive for them to rectify their status in the country and takes into account their special situation, according to unnamed sources cited by a local newspaper.
Burmese communities in Makkah, Jeddah and Taif were surveyed recently as a first step in a government plan for them to obtain legal residency permits, the sources were quoted as saying.
A special security committee would start receiving members of the Burmese community wanting to correct their status on Saturday at a center set up at the car impoundment lot in Kudai in Makkah.
The sources said a meeting of a number of security agencies was held to discuss the plan to handle the situation at the center. A total of 700,000 Burmese nationals have been surveyed. A large number of people are expected to turn up at the center.
Gen. Yahya bin Surour Al-Zaydi, chief of Makkah Police, described the government's plan as a proper step that would have a positive impact in future.
Makkah Gov. Prince Khaled Al-Faisal said earlier this month that Saudi Arabia may give citizenship to refugees who have been living in the Kingdom for several years as part of government's efforts to correct their residency situation.
Prince Khaled said the project would focus mainly on people living in Makkah districts, especially foreign refugees like the Burmese. He said there was also agreement reached with the Labor Ministry to create jobs for them.
The Labor Ministry announced recently it would consider employment of four Burmese, Turkistanis and Palestinians equal to one foreigner, encouraging private companies to employ these refugees who are readily available in the country, instead of recruiting foreign workers.