New law: Visa traders to be deemed human traffickers

Posted: January 13, 2014 in Current Affairs, World Affairs
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The Ministry of Labor plans to introduce a new law that would punish visa dealers as human traffickers.

Speaking at a business forum at the Riyadh Chamber of Commerce and Industry (RCCI) on Thursday, Abdullah Abu Thunain, undersecretary for inspections, said the ministry had found 8,000 firms involved in irregularities since the inspection campaign began two months ago.

He said the inspection campaign would continue with about 1,000 trained inspectors.

Since the launch of the ministry’s programs, the number of Saudis registered with the General Organization for Social Insurance (GOSI) jumped from 623,000 to 1.4 million and the number of companies entering the “safe zone” rose by 86 percent.

About 50 percent of these companies were categorized in the Red Zone before the inspection campaign started, the official said.

Abu Thunain admitted that the Saudi labor market faced challenges in three areas — temporary hiring of Saudis to get the ministry’s services, bogus employment and visa-selling transactions.

He said companies not paying the salaries of employees under the Wage Protection Program (WPP) would be penalized, and all services suspended if salaries are delayed for three months.

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