Saudis abuse Yemenis,Yemen exempts Gulf people from entry visa [Archives:2004/763/Front Page]

August 12 2004

Mohammed bin Sallam
The Shura Council's Political and Foreign Affairs Committee last week asked the government to take care of Yemeni expatriates in Saudi Arabia who are suffering from bad treatment at the hands of the Saudi government.
“Saudis Arabia has cancelled many privileges that Yemeni expatriates used to enjoy, setting hurdles before them, especially those working in the field of gold and other professional and commercial activities,” said the report of the committee.
According to the report, there are 700,000 Yemenis suffering from the Saudi government's maltreatment.
Whereas there are 60,000 in the EUA leading comfortable lives, along with 8,000 in Qatar, 7,000 in Bahrain, and 4,000 in Kuwait.
The Saudi authorities had deported more than 600,000 Yemenis in the last few months under the pretext that they infiltrated illegally into the country. There are also 1091 Yemenis in Saudi prisons charged with various felonies like possession of arms, drug trafficking, indecencies, and qat smuggling.
The Shura Council report considered 'saudizing' occupations as targeting Yemenis more than any other community, for it has affected 50,000 Yemenis working in the gold trade particularly.
United Press International, a news agency, had published the report of the committee which revealed that procedures taken by the Saudi government towards Yemeni expatriates aim primarily to put obstacles and remove privileges Yemenis used to have before the Second Gulf War.
“The Saudi procedures aim to get rid of the Yemeni workforce, and have cancelled the privileges that Yemenis used to enjoy, such as permanent residence. they have limited free professions to Saudis only, which was known as saudization of occupations and commercial professions usually practiced by expatriates (8 million),” mentioned the report.
The report indicated that “saudization” does not mean that Yemenis will only lose their occupations, but also their properties.
“The Saudi authorities had previously given facilitation to some men of distinction and princes to procure Yemenis, even if they were unskilled or unable to work, giving some of them a thousand visas sometimes. One visa would be sold through brokers for 15,000 Saudi riyals, but the price sank as supply increased,” elaborated the report.
The Saudi authorities have deported about one million Yemeni expatriates since the crisis of the Second Gulf War, and forced them to leave the country within 40 days.
The Yemeni government has recently exempted nationals of the Gulf States from visas. Thus, they can enter Yemen without visas given either at airports or border outposts.
The Yemeni authorities had two months ago put new fees on Gulf States' citizens (200 SR or equivalent), but this procedure lasted only one month and was then abolished in order to encourage tourism.