Sons and daughters of Saudi mothers married to non-Saudi fathers

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Sons and daughters of Saudi mothers married to non-Saudi fathers

Al-Madina

CITIZENSHIP is something that is based on the place where a person lives and belongs to. From a sociological perspective, it is a social relationship between an individual and a state wherein the individual pledges allegiance to the state in exchange for protection. These definitions clearly show that both male and female citizens are treated the same and there is no form of discrimination.

However, Saudi men who are married to non-Saudi women seem to be discriminated against as far as the law is concerned. The same thing applies to Saudi women who are married to non-Saudi men. The children of these Saudis are also discriminated against. The sons and daughters of Saudi men who are married to non-Saudi women are regarded as Saudi citizens, regardless of whether they were born inside or outside the country.

On the other hand, the sons and daughters of a Saudi woman who is married to a non-Saudi man are treated differently. The sons get Saudi citizenship when they turn 18 and after having met certain conditions while the daughters do not unless they marry Saudis. In 2012, the laws were amended to give both sons and daughters of Saudi women the right to become Saudi citizens if they met seven requirements.

One of the requirements proved to be difficult to meet. This was the requirement for the Saudi mother to prove that her paternal grandfather was or is Saudi. We all know that Saudi IDs were introduced in 1942, meaning the Saudi mother whose paternal grandfather passed away before 1942 would never be able to meet the above requirement. In fact, even those who have met all of the seven requirements have still not been granted Saudi citizenship. The same is true for the sons and daughters who gave up their father’s nationality to get the same nationality of their mother as per Article 8 of the Citizenship Law. They have not been given citizenship since 2005.

If we look at the new laws stipulating that the sons and daughters of Saudi mothers should be treated as Saudis as long as their mothers are alive, we find some flagrant violations in daily life scenarios. Those sons and daughters will not be employed in the public sector nor will they be allowed to go on a scholarship to study abroad. Moreover, the scholarship of a Saudi man will be canceled if he marries a non-Saudi woman, even if her mother is Saudi.

The sons and daughters of Saudi mothers cannot represent their mothers before government agencies and are banned from 31 jobs that are restricted to Saudi citizens. They do not get social insurance nor do they get the same salary a Saudi would get if employed in the private sector. They usually get paid less than Saudis. They also do not get pensions.

The son or daughter of a Saudi woman who is married to a non-Saudi man will also not enjoy the same residence status after their mother passes away. The section in the residence permit that mentions “son/daughter of a Saudi woman” will be changed. All the privileges they enjoyed when their mother was alive, such as free education and medical care, come to an end. Those sons and daughters are then treated as if they were expatriate workers recruited from overseas.

They have to find a Saudi sponsor and pay the fees imposed on expatriate workers. They are unable to own property they inherited from their mother; in fact, the property will be sold in an auction and the money will be divided among them. This happens even though there are laws that allow non-Saudis to own property after 10 percent is deducted and handed to the Ministry of Finance.

In sharp contrast, the non-Saudi woman whose Saudi husband passed away will be treated as a citizen. It seems that the Saudi woman loses her citizenship status when she passes away. Why do we discriminate between the sons and daughters of Saudi mothers who are married to non-Saudis and the sons and daughters of non-Saudi mothers who are married to Saudis? This type of discrimination violates Article 8 of the Basic Law of Governance which states: “Governance in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia shall be based on justice, Shoura (consultation), and equality in accordance with the Islamic Shariah.”

Article 9 of the Saudi Citizenship Law stipulates that a foreign person who has been living in the Kingdom for 10 years and who does a profession that is in demand in the Kingdom shall have the right to be Saudi and shall have the right to apply for Saudi citizenship for his wife and children. The Saudi woman who is married to a non-Saudi man does not have the same right even if she does a profession that is in demand in the Kingdom.

Granting citizenship is a strict sovereign right. However, Saudi women who are married to non-Saudis should be given the right to grant citizenship to their sons and daughters just like Saudi men who are married to non-Saudi women.

On the basis of Article 9 of the Basic Law of Governance (“The family is the nucleus of Saudi society...”) and Article 10 of the same law (“The state shall put great attention to strengthen the bonds which hold the family together and to preserve its Arab and Islamic values. It is keen on taking good care of all family members and creating proper conditions to help them in developing their skills and abilities”), I implore and entreat Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman to grant Saudi citizenship to the sons and daughters of Saudi mothers who are married to non-Saudis. Those sons and daughters can contribute to the success of the Transformation Program and Vision 2030. They should be given special residence permits, which distinguish them from others and their occupations should be written on their residence permits.


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