More than 500 Pakistanis brought back from Saudi on special flights

Pakistani nationals stranded in Saudi Arabia are waiting for a special flight to Faisalabad at Jeddah International Airport on May 18, 2020. (Photo courtesy: Pakistan Consulate General in Jeddah)
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Updated 03 June 2020

More than 500 Pakistanis brought back from Saudi on special flights

  • National carrier roped in for the initiative, foreign ministry says
  • Country’s diplomatic mission has repatriated over 4,000 nationals from the Kingdom amid outbreak

ISLAMABAD: Three PIA flights with 530 Pakistanis on board returned from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on June 02, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in statement.

“In their efforts, the Embassy of Pakistan in Riyadh and Consulate General of Pakistan in Jeddah have so far facilitated the repatriation of more than 4,000 Pakistanis, including 480 Umrah Zaireen [pilgrims] and 195 detainees,” the statement read.

“The Missions are also extending assistance including provision of ration bags to the needy Pakistanis in the Kingdom and coordinating special flights with PIA to facilitate repatriation of stranded Pakistanis,” it continued.

Pakistan’s diplomats are in contact with the country’s diaspora in Saudi Arabia, said the official handout, and are doing their best to assist its members within the lockdown constraints.

The ministry also informed that the number of special flights to Saudi Arabia had been increased to expedite the repatriation process.

“As regards expired Pakistanis,” the official handout added, “the Missions have extended assistance in local burial in 40 cases. While the mortal remains of 90 have been repatriated to Pakistan thus far, arrangements are in hand to facilitate the return of those remaining.”

“In line with the directives of the Prime Minister for early repatriation of stranded Pakistanis, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will continue its efforts till the repatriation of all such Pakistanis. In this regard, the Missions are under special instructions to complete the repatriation process at the earliest possible in close liaison with the local Saudi authorities, PIA and relevant authorities in Pakistan,” the statement concluded.

Over 40,000 Pakistani expats to benefit from extension of Saudi visas, residency permits

Updated 49 min 53 sec ago

Over 40,000 Pakistani expats to benefit from extension of Saudi visas, residency permits

  • King Salman on Sunday approved a free three-month extension of expired residency permits, and exit and reentry visas of expatriates
  • Pakistan envoy to Saudi Arabia hails ‘positive and welcoming step’ by Saudi Arabia

ISLAMABAD: More than 40,000 Pakistani expats in Saudi Arabia will benefit from the royal order to extend by three months and without charge, the validity of expired residency permits and exit and reentry visas, Pakistan’s ambassador to the Kingdom, Raja Ali Ejaz, told Arab News on Sunday.

Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman on Sunday approved the extension in order to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on expats working in Saudi Arabia.

Under the order, the residency permits and visas of expats inside the Kingdom of which the validity expired during the period of suspension of entry and exit from Saudi Arabia, will be extended for a period of three months free of cost. The validity of final exit visas, unused exit and return visas for expats will also be extended.

“More than 40,000 Pakistani expatriates will benefit from this facility,” Ambassador Ejaz said.

“It is a positive and welcoming step by Saudi Arabia that they have given three months’ extension in almost every relevant visa related issue for expatriates.”

He added around 15,000 Pakistani expats inside the Kingdom and over 25,000 who had traveled back to Pakistan, would be facilitated by the extension.

“There were many Pakistanis who went back on leave and could not come back after the suspension of flights due to coronavirus,” he continued. 

“When they come back here [Saudi Arabia] to rejoin their work, their visas will be valid so they will not face any trouble.”

Furthermore, Ejaz said Pakistanis whose visas had expired but they had been unable to leave due to the limited availability of flights would also be beneficiaries, as the Saudi government had extended their final exit visas as well.

The extension facility will come into place free of cost-- a source of financial relief, Ejaz said, for the majority of Pakistani workers in unskilled labor positions.

Pakistan currently has more than 2.5 million expats living in Saudi Arabia, and makes up the country’s biggest overseas community. 

According to Pakistan’s central bank data, Saudi Arabia has consistently remained for years Pakistan’s largest source of remittances.