JEDDAH — The fee on dependents, which came into force on July 1, has created panic and confusion among expat workers.
Computer system malfunctions and perceived payment discrepancies have affected many expatriates.
Many of those who took exit-reentry visas before July 1 with a two-month validity have found that the computer system shows that their valid visas have “expired”.
“I took a two-month single entry exit-reentry visa in June. I returned to the Kingdom one month before the expiry of my visa. But my wife remained in London. When I checked her visa status on the Muqeem website, I was shocked to find that that her visa which was valid till Aug. 20 was being shown as expired,” said an expat in Riyadh.
He paid the dependent fee. But for two days the visa status of his wife did not change.
“I was tense for two days on Wednesday and Thursday due to the ‘visa expired’ message,” he said.
The regional passport office in Jeddah is also witnessing a huge rush of expats.
Every expat worker near the passport office has a story to tell.
Some expatriates who had completed the final exit process prior to July 1 were also thronging the passport office to seek clarity as they claim that there is a discrepancy in the amount shown in the Saddad payment system.
Mohammed Fayaz, an Indian working in a polyclinic in Jeddah, had to spend long hours at the passport office to check his exit visa status as his employer was not able to process his exit visa.
Unable to bear the dependent fee, Fayaz has decided to return home. He sent his wife and child on final exit two weeks ago to avoid paying the dependent fee.
“My employer has been trying to issue an exit visa for me, but he has failed. Confused about the amount of the dependent fee displayed in the Saddad payment system, I came to the passport office and found that I have to pay the dependent fee up to the end of the validity of my iqama (residence permit) for my wife and child who both left the Kingdom before July 1,” he said.
Fayaz was only able to get his exit visa after paying the dependent fee for his wife and child.