MAKKAH — A number of Saudi sponsors in Makkah have received text messages informing them that their workers, whom they had reported as escapees (Huroub), have transferred their iqamas (resident IDs) to new kafeels (sponsors) without their knowledge or consent.
Makkah passport police (Jawazat) spokesman Col. Mohammed Mohsin said the department is currently considering the complaints of the sponsors to know how their workers, who have been charged with Huroub, have been able to cancel the Huroub charges and join new sponsors.
The sponsors did not say where the text messages came from but it was largely believed that these came from labor offices.
Sameer Baiessa, a citizen, said he recruited a driver a year ago, got him a driving license only to find out that the man had escaped. He reported him as an escapee to the Jawazat through Abshir electronic service.
“Two months later, I received a text message informing me that the Huroub case has been dropped and that my worker has joined a new sponsor instead of being detained and deported,” he said.
Baiessa said he paid the entire cost of recruitment and the work visa fee but he has not been compensated.
Ahmed Al-Ghamdi, another citizen, said four months after informing the Makkah Jawazat about the escape of his worker he was surprised to find him with a new Saudi sponsor. “How was his iqama transferred to a new sponsor without my knowledge or consent?” he questioned.
Ghamdi said he was paying his worker a monthly salary of SR1,200 which he thought was enough.
“My worker might have escaped looking for better wages. His countrymen might have helped him find a new sponsor who was willing to pay him a higher salary,” he said.
Commenting on these cases, a Labor Ministry source asked citizens not to delay informing about runaway workers so as to protect themselves in case the workers commit any violation.
The ministry, on the other hand, empowered the workers to transfer their iqamas to other employers if their original sponsors delay paying their salaries for three months or more.
According to market sources, the workers tend to escape either because of maltreatment, delay of salary payment or in quest of a better-paying job.