Thousands of expatriates are in a frenzy to record biometrics and complete paperwork in the few remaining days ahead of the deadline for legalization, which has resulted in chaos at the deportation center in Jeddah.
Passport authorities in Jeddah have assigned specific days for countries to record the biometrics of their nationals.
Monday was the last day for Pakistan and Sri Lanka expats, while Tuesday was the last day for India, which saw huge crowding.
Logistic support has been poor in Jeddah, with only a single employee assigned to check documents and allocate queuing numbers. In addition, only two employees were seen recording biometrics.
Around 330 Indian applicants who couldn’t have their fingerprints recorded last Tuesday still had to wait until late evening yesterday to complete the process,
Meanwhile, new groups of applicants struggled outside the deportation center to deposit their passports and travel documents, with Indian officials stationed at the deportation center to assist their nationals.
The last and final group of applicants, which included women, were gathered outside the deportation center under the scorching sun and were allowed inside only after 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday.
Hundreds of applicants who approached authorities on Tuesday faced technical problems, which Saudi officials have been able to explain or resolve.
One Indian applicant, Abdul Ghafoor from Assam in India, who had been granted an exit visa but had been twice refused at the airport, was found crying at the deportation center.
Mohammed Shoib from Uttar Pradesh said: “I wonder how all of us can be fingerprinted in one single day.” The documents of several applicants were damaged by the humidity as they waited in the queue.
Hundreds of Pakistani applicants came to the deportation center on Tuesday to have their fingerprints recorded despite the fact that the last day for Pakistani expats to record their biometrics was Monday.
A huge crowd of Sri Lankan and Pakistani applicants gathered at the deportation center on Monday morning. Hundreds of Sri Lankan expatriates were asked to leave since they did not have documentation or did not qualify for amnesty.
Only 250 Sri Lankan applicants were able to record their biometrics by Monday night, the highest number of Sri Lankans who were able to undergo the process thus far.
Nausheen, a Pakistani woman hailing from Multan, told Arab News: “I came here for my exit visa at 7 a.m. but it is now 8 p.m. and I am still waiting to record my biometrics.”
Another Pakistani applicant, Sikinder, told Arab News: “I am struggling to seek exit for my wife and three children.”