Over a million Muqeem cards issued so far
The Passport Department (Jawazat) has so far issued 1,012,300 Muqeem identity cards for the expatriates, the department’s spokesman Maj. Talal Al-Shalhoub told Makkah daily on Tuesday.
The issuance of the new card, to replace the old iqama, started on Oct. 15 in various parts of the Kingdom.
“We print a daily average of about 50,000 new IDs all over the Kingdom,” the spokesman said.
“We are racing against time to automate all our services to the citizens and expatriates,” he added.
Shalhoub said the Muqeem ID contains the holder’s photo, his/her nationality, date of birth, occupation, name of sponsor and the card’s expiry date after five years.
He said the new ID is different from the old iqama in that it is an electronic document which is automatically renewed every year according to the old rules and regulations without the need for printing a new card every year.
Several expatriates have welcomed the new five-year Muqeem card. “It will provide job security to expatriates. It will also help contracting companies to complete their projects on time,” said Siddeek Ahmed, an Indian expatriate.
He said the move would encourage foreign companies to invest in the Kingdom and transfer their technology without any fear as it guarantees the availability of qualified and skilled foreign workers for five years.
“I am very happy,” said Ehtasham Ali, managing director of a polyclinic in Jeddah.
“This is good not only for expats but also for the Kingdom,” he said, adding that it would encourage experienced guest workers to stay in the Kingdom instead of going elsewhere in search of better job opportunities.