Prisons are braced to meet the influx of illegal expats following the end of the amnesty period.
Violators will be lodged in regular prisons, which fall under the jurisdiction of the Prisons Department. They were previously held at deportation centers, which are under the jurisdiction of the Passports Department.
The latest changes come following the reorganization of the Ministry of Interior. Certain realms of responsibility have been shifted from the Passport Department to the Prisons Department, security patrols and highway patrol forces.
Deportation centers, utilities, personnel and the properties of departments concerned with expat affairs have been shifted to the Directorate General of Prisons. Deportation center personnel now wear the same uniform as security patrol employees.
“We have plans to deal with overcrowding at correctional facilities,” said Maj. Gen. Ibrahim Al-Hamzi, director-general of the Prisons Department.
The Passports Department will henceforth only issue passports to Saudi citizens and iqamas to expatriates.
Prisons have more capacity and are located across the Kingdom, unlike deportation centers, which have a limited capacity.
In the past, only Passport Department personnel had the right to arrest and detain violating expatriates in their facilities until deportation, but police patrolling forces will now be able to arrest visa violators and have the power to directly transfer offenders to priso
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