A surprising new category of expatriates wanting to leave the Kingdom have been turning up over the past few days at the Jeddah fingerprinting center to record their details — the dependent wives of expatriate workers.
These women are now following their husbands who are heading home after failing to rectify their status.
There are also women who are leaving their husbands behind in the Kingdom and hoping to return later.
Their husbands had arrived in Saudi Arabia on single-status contracts and had brought them over on either visit, Umrah or Haj visas.
They had broken the law by staying in the country.
Many of these women, from Sri Lanka, Pakistan and India, arrived with their children at the center in Rehab district.
None of them wanted to talk about why they waited until the last moment to sort their paperwork but it is clear that they tried and failed to rectify their status.
Others seemed to be going home for financial and family reasons.
There were wives of all ages at the center.
They waited for hours in the long queues while their children played nearby.
Many of the children were uncomfortable and cried because of the long waiting hours.
Most of these women had their original passports and did not approach their consulates and missions for the documents.