“Privileged residence” move for Saudi female children married to non-Saudis ignites Shoura Council

“Privileged residence” move for Saudi female children married to non-Saudis ignites Shoura Council

The proposal calling for an amendment in the residency permit regulation in favor of the children of Saudi women married to non-Saudi men; who entered a new round of discussions in the Shoura Council; as proponents of the move are holding firm to their stance.

Despite the rejection of the proposal by the council’s Security Affairs Committee twice; the move is still being pushed by some of the members who proposed it.

Eight Shoura members, including Lateefa Al-Sha’lan, Faisal Aal Fadhil, Leena Al-Maeena, Aaliyah Al-Dahlawi; Noora Al-Musaed, Ataa Al-Subaiti; Moudhi Al-Khalaf; and Huda Helaisi presented their proposal during the previous Shoura session and three of the proponents; Al-Maeena, Al-Musaed and Al-Khalaf — have left the council.

However, the Security Affairs Committee’s rejection of the proposed draft regulation and proponents’ holding on to their proposal; caused deferment of the forthcoming session, with the five proponents still remaining in the current Shoura Council.

Permanent Iqamas for an indefinite period and without paying any fee.

The proposal calls for the addition of a new article to the Iqama regulation that will enable the children of Saudi women married to non-Saudi men to get permanent residency permits (Iqamas) for an indefinite period and without paying any fee.

However, the relief should be to children of those women whose marriages to non-Saudi men approved by the pertinent authorities; and their marriage contracts authenticated and attested by the concerned authorities.

The presenters of this proposal assert that their proposal will contribute to achieving the terms of the international charters, conventions and agreements the Kingdom signed on human rights in general, and child and women’s rights in particular.

It also contributes to raising the Kingdom’s competitiveness; and its rating on compliance with the international agreements and charters, in the human rights record. The committee did not take this vital aspect into consideration when it rejected the proposal.

Privileged residency permit

The proponents of the proposal protest against the “Privileged residency permit” that enables foreign investors of various nationalities and cultures to stay in Saudi Arabia for a long time in return for a financial amount. Also, those who have been given “Privileged residency permits” also enjoy several rights and privileges.

In their viewpoint, children of Saudi women married to non-Saudi men should also be granted the privileges foreign investors enjoy without paying any fee.

The proponents of the proposal stress that the current iqama regulation grants permanent residency permits to non-Saudis; and certain categories, for humanitarian considerations; hence, confirming the right of the children of a Saudi woman married to a non-Saudi entitled to the same in the Kingdom.

It is noteworthy that this proposal for amendment of the iqama regulation, which is still in a state of flux; preceded by a similar Shoura recommendation presented by five of the Council’s members at that time; Al-Maeena, Al-Sha’lan, Al-Musaed, Aal Fadhil, and Al-Helaisi; which when presented for voting in September 2019; won 74 votes (just two votes short of the required majority votes of 76).