Manama: Saudi Arabia’s General Directorate of Passports (GDP) said that it had started implementing the government’s directives to allow the sons of Saudi women married to foreigners to live in the country under their mothers’ sponsorship.
According to the directives, Saudi mothers can also bring their sons from non-Saudi fathers to live in Saudi Arabia “as long as there are no security remarks about them”, Colonel Bader Bin Mohammad Al Malek, the spokesperson for GDP, said, local Arabic daily Al Riyadh reported on Sunday.
The new rules allow the sons to take up jobs in the private sector and remain under the sponsorship of their mothers, which helps them avoid possible complex visa issues with their employers.
Under the rules, Saudi women are also able to sponsor their non-Saudi husbands, but they must have valid passports from their countries.
The fees for the sponsorship of the sons and husband are to be paid by the state.
Al Malek told the daily that an official approval of the marriage and a documented contract were necessary to benefit from the new regulations.
The directives are expected to provide a greater level of family stability for foreign husbands, mainly Arabs from Yemen, Syria and Egypt, and sons.
According to official figures reported in the local media, around 2,000 Saudi women married foreigners in 2011, mainly in the Makkah region, the Saudi capital Riyadh and the Eastern Province.
Saudi laws do not permit the children of Saudi women married with foreigners to be automatically entitled to Saudi citizenship and several women activists have been calling for an amendment that would help mixed couples have better family stability.
In their campaigns, the activists have often referred to the cases of Saudi women facing formidable challenges to look after them socially and economically after the death of their foreign fathers.
Prior to the issuance of the new directives aimed to help Saudi women who choose to marry non-Saudis, the children of Saudi mothers and non-Saudi fathers were treated as foreigners who needed to be sponsored by employers to be able to stay or work in the country.