Illegals sully once-posh Riyadh district

Illegals sully once-posh Riyadh district

Illegal foreign residents and street vendors have taken over the once popular Wizarat District of Riyadh. — Okaz photos
Illegal foreign residents and street vendors have taken over the once popular Wizarat District of Riyadh. — Okaz photos

By Hazim Al-Motairy

RIYADH – The Wizarat District along the Old Airport Road in the Saudi capital city, where headquarters of most ministries are located, has become the playing ground for illegal expatriate workers, especially street vendors who sell foodstuffs in violation of the rules.

The district also suffers from environmental pollution as a result of the accumulation of garbage, which serves as a breeding ground for disease-spreading insects, such as mosquitoes and mice. Residents have urged authorities to take quick measures to restore the district’s prestige.

Hamad Abdullah emphasized the need to stop illegal business activities of undocumented expatriates who occupy the streets of the neighborhood, especially in the evening.

He said the illegal street vendors sell fruit and vegetables and unhealthy food items due to the absence of monitoring by the authorities.

Salim Al-Ahmed complained about the poor cleaning of the district. The accumulation of garbage has turned the neighborhood into a safe haven for stray dogs and cats. It also spreads bad smell across the district, he added.

He called for improving the environmental condition of Wizarat by removing garbage on a timely basis. The Passport Department should take action against illegal workers, he added.

Khaled Al-Faraj said relevant authorities should restore the previous condition of Wizarat considering its importance as the seat of many government departments.

“Now the district looks like part of an Asian city,” he told Okaz/Saudi Gazette. The district also required public parks for families to spend their weekends, he added.

Al-Faraj called for the development of Wizarat like other districts of Riyadh. “We should preven thet illegal activities of expats in the district by strictly enforcing the law.” He urged the water department to take quick steps to end water shortage in the district during summer.

Wizarat has lost its prestige in recent years, especially due to the presence of illegal foreign workers who engage in unauthorized activities that have tarnished its image.

“I think the patrol police should intensify its presence in Wizarat day and night while the municipality and the Commerce Ministry should keep a close watch on the shops and restaurants in the area,” Al-Faraj added.


  1. There is heavy presence of people of one particular nationality there. These are the who do these activities. They should be shifted from there, most of them are bachelors, better to keep them in special areas.

  2. It is not only street markets in wizarat, almost all the shops / businesses in the area are owned and run by expats illegally. However, these businesses and street vendors provide cheaper goods that are more affordable, unlike the goods that are sold in larger stores and chains. Just take an example, take any item that is sold in any pharmacy in KSA, go on the Amazon site or any other site selling the same product outside KSA, you will find the price difference almost double, a product that is sold in KSA for SR 100 it is sold else where in the world for SR 50, mind you that there are NO TAXES in KSA.

  3. Please take action as soon as possible, Because of these street vendor it is impossible to walk on street in AL WAZARAT AREA OPPOSITE TO SAMBA SPEED CASH, these gusy whole area dirty with garbage and rotten fish and chicken they are selling on road openly.
    some time it is difficult to pass because of smell
    These all are illegal belong to one particular nationality.

  4. Improve Security situation, Nowadays it is risk to goto mosque to pray fajr & Asr Prayer because armed robbers are roaming freely when less/No people on the road.
    after getting fatwa for risking life to reach fajr at mosque, many people started pray at home till situation gets improved. years passed, STILL armed robbery is common. i myself thrice victim when i go for fajr prayer. since then i am not taking my son to fajr. some neighbors parying fajr at home fearing robbery.
    hence kindly improve security situation to let people feel secured like how we felt sage decades ago. that should be beneficial to all as first priority. thousands of victims complained to police, nothing improved. problem remains the same.

  5. Appreciate Mr. Hazim Al-Motairy for covering and exploring the real happenings of Hae-ul-Wazarat.

    The concerned authorities should implement to close these Illegals Business

  6. I really appreciate for highlighting the issue of local and expatriate leaving in Hayal Wizarat I have spent almost a years in wazarat but situation has become more worst due to illegal vendors, this is effecting social security and environment where families are moment annoyed they go out.

  7. I really appreciate for highlighting this issue; action should be taken immediately; it’s badly affected by huge traffic jams; they are also selling old garments, footwears, utensils, rotten meat, and some shop owners nearby also involved … situation is becoming worse day by day.

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