The stats don’t take into account the total number of applicants who applied, those that are pending and those that have been rejected. The count would be higher and I think would reflect that Saudi/Non-Saudi marriages have been increasing overall.
Imagine grieving for your mother and then having to search for another sponsor at the same time so you won’t be booted out of the country that you call home. That adds insult to injury. This is not right at all.
It is absurd to view the marriage of Saudi women to non-Saudi men as damaging to the economy. Assuming that their husbands are working, they are also contributing to the economy. Must be the fear that non-Saudi husbands will send part of their salary out of the country to help their families living in foreign countries?
“They will live a life being torn between their expatriate father, if he was not deported, and their Saudi mother who is helpless in front of the system,” she said.” Why allow this to happen…change the law to protect Saudi women and their children so they won’t be helpless!
Tara Umm Omar
Clinging To Hope — 700,000 Saudi Women With Non-Saudi Husbands In 2013
Saudi Gazette Report
8 May 2014
SAUDI women married to non-Saudis continue to cling on to the hope that one day they will be allowed to pass on their Saudi citizenship to their children. However, despite their efforts, it is apparent that in order for their struggle to become a success, they need to overcome tedious complications and get the support of numerous officials.
According to a report by the Ministry of Justice, there were more than 700,000 Saudi women married to non-Saudis in 2013. That makes up 10 percent of all Saudi women. In 2012 alone, 13,117 Saudi women married non-Saudis inside and outside the Kingdom. Saudi men only married 2,583 non-Saudi women during the same period.
The Saudi Nationality System Charter works on a point system in which an applicant must earn a number of points in order to qualify for Saudi citizenship. Points are earned based on many factors, the main factor being the number of Saudi relatives the applicant has.
The closer the relation of the relative to the parents, the more points the applicant earns. Studies are being conducted to modify some of the conditions for obtaining the Saudi nationality, such as Article 7 pertaining to the mother’s grandfather. Other conditions on the Saudi Nationality System Charter have been modified such as permanent residency of the mother in the Kingdom and the minimum education level of the child, which should be high school.
The Ministry of Justice considers children of Saudi women married to non-Saudi men as “special expatriates” and therefore, the mother cannot sponsor her own children to work for her nor is the mother’s inheritance, including real estate, passed on to her children. Her inheritance is instead taken by a special authority and auctioned. A percentage of the proceeds are then distributed among the children.
The special authority also gets a certain percentage. If the children are under the sponsorship of the mother and the mother dies, the children must then search for another sponsor. The children are also treated as expatriates when it comes to social insurance and the likes. Educationally, the children are not eligible for the King Abdullah Foreign Scholarship Program.
There are also travel restrictions. The children are not allowed to spend more than six months abroad. In the case of the children being students, a six-month extension is possible provided that documents proving that they are students are submitted to the Passport Department.
Any government procedures regarding the children require the presence of their Saudi mother as their sponsor.
Obtaining Saudi citizenship through the sponsorship of the mother is not a choice as the children are registered as “son/daughter of a Saudi mother,” something which creates many problems for the children, especially when they want to find employment.
According to Minister of Interior Prince Muhammad Bin Naif, who is very sympathetic to the case. He believes children born to Saudi mothers should be treated on an equal footing with their national peers.
Children born in the Kingdom to a Saudi mother and a non-Saudi father can obtain Saudi citizenship when they turn 18, provided the father has permanent residence in the Kingdom, a clean criminal record and speaks fluent Arabic.
Khalid Abdurahman Alfakhry, a consultant at the general secretariat of the National Society for Human Rights (NSHR), clarified that the law does not treat a Saudi woman marrying a non-Saudi man equal to a Saudi man marrying a non-Saudi woman. Children of Saudi fathers automatically obtain citizenship. The system used to allow Saudi mothers to sponsor their children under her as drivers or general workers, but nowadays, Saudi citizenship can only be obtained by a special recommendation from the minister of interior.
Alfakhry also said a non-Saudi father has a residency status depending on his job. If he is asked to leave the country due to contract termination, he may not be able to enter the country again. Such cases are treated as exceptional and fathers are often allowed entry into the Kingdom so they can remain with their families. The government allows, in such cases alone, for the Saudi wife to sponsor her non-Saudi husband.
Talal Bin Hasan Albakri, the former head of the Social Committee at the Shoura Council, objected to the idea of a Saudi woman marrying a non-Saudi man.
“There are too many problems that ensue and non-Saudis might enter into such a marriage with impure intentions since there is an advantage for them in marrying a Saudi woman,” he said.
“In some cases, the non-Saudi husband will exploit his wife’s family and start his own business. There is too much at risk from these marriages as they are damaging to the Saudi economy and society,” he added.
Fatima Abdullah, a school principal and a family affairs activist, also does not support Saudi women marrying non-Saudis due to the cultural and traditional differences and the many problems that arise due to these differences, which can then lead to an early divorce. “The children involved are another matter to consider. They will live a life being torn between their expatriate father, if he was not deported, and their Saudi mother who is helpless in front of the system,” she said.
Photo Credit: We Heart It