Saudi official whips migrant worker with belt

Screen shot of the video showing an official chasing people out of a passport centre, and beating one person with a belt. 
 
 
A video filmed in Saudi Arabia has thrown the authorities’ treatment of migrant workers back into the spotlight. The footage shows an official in the coastal city of Jeddah chasing Africans out of a passport office and beating one of them with a belt, shouting: "Out!"
 
The video was filmed on Sunday May 26 by a man who had accompanied his domestic worker to the passport office. The situation for migrant workers in Saudi Arabia is increasingly precarious: many are facing expulsion as the country tries to curb unemployment, which stood at 12% at the end of 2012.
 
Video showing an official chasing people out of a passport centre, and beating one person with a belt. 
Contributors

“Every day, hundreds of people turn up at passport centres, hoping to legalise their status”

Walid Abou Al Khair is a human rights activist in Jeddah. He was one of the first people to publish the video on social networks.
 
Every city has a passport centre. They are where immigrants get work and residence permits. These immigrants are mostly from Asia, sub-Saharan Africa and neighbouring Yemen.
 
To work in Saudi Arabia, unless they have millions of riyals for a residence permit, a migrant worker needs a sponsor [Editor’s note: as in some other Gulf states, Saudi Arabia has adopted the ‘kafala’ immigration system whereby prospective migrants must have a ‘kafeel’, or sponsor].
 
Many workers have been able to come here by getting a sponsor, and then leaving them in order to work for themselves. Others change sponsor. So these workers' situation is not legal in the eyes of the state. And some have entered the country with a pilgrim visa, and then they’ve stayed and worked illegally.
 
It is these workers who are targeted by the government’s expulsion measures. The campaign has given rise to abuse: there are images showing hundreds of workers packed into trucks, sent back home from one day to the next, even though they have all their belongings here.
 
Following the controversy caused by the first wave of expulsions [Editor’s note: 200,000 workers were sent home], the king allowed a three-month grace period to give people a chance to legalise their status by finding a sponsor. So the workers headed to the passport centres, like the one shown in the video, hoping to be legalise their status.
 
The passport centres are overwhelmed. There are workers on the floor, in the corridors or in front of the building. In this video, an official had clearly had enough of the crowds and that’s why he chased them out. These images are shocking, but unfortunately they offer just one small example of the mistreatment suffered by migrant workers in Saudi Arabia.
 
Post written with FRANCE 24 journalist Sarra Grira (@SarraGrira).

Comments

TOO MUCH UGLINESS IN THE

TOO MUCH UGLINESS IN THE WORLD, BOY THIS BUNCH TAKES THE CAKE

Dealing with Illegals

Perhaps 12 percent unemployment is what it would take for the US to deal with its 11 million illegals.

Great job

Obama should put this man in charge of Homeland Security!

Imagration will be the downfall of your country

If I were boss here at Homeland Security, I'd hire this officer. He sees the fraud and knows what's best for his country.

"Abuse" of illegal immigrants by passport official

"These images are shocking, but unfortunately they offer just one small example of the mistreatment suffered by migrant workers in Saudi Arabia."

What about the mistreatment of the system by those"workers" who enter under pretense of sponsorship and leave to be on their own - illegally? "Illegal" immighration is not an exclusive problem of America. It's a problem wherever there are jobs to fill, where legitimate citizens, for one reason or another, do not immediately take those jobs.

No sympathy from me ...

So tolerant?!!!

Boy those Muslims are such tolerent people

I think you mispelled his name

The contributor to your article is named Walid Abou Al Khair. But in your article I think you slightly misspell his name as "Walid Abou Al-khail is a human rights activist in Jeddah. He ..."

Thanks

Thanks for pointing this out! We've now fixed it.

this story

looks like he's just clearing the area, i see nothing too outrageous (especially for that country).

Saudi slaves

That part of the world still have African slaves.

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