Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Abandoned account

A Complicated Situation with KSA

12 posts in this topic

Recommended Posts

My fiance and I have a NOA1 date of Feb. 28, VSC ... we've waited forever but are expecting to hear something any day. The problem is we may not get to be together in the US even if approved ~ the Saudi sponsorship system of expats threatens everything we've been waiting for. If he doesn't turn over his sponsorship and passport to his employer by the end of August, he will lose his job, and if he does turn it over, he has to stay employed with them for the next 2 years. He's been with this employer since March and should have turned it over in June but has been putting them off. The employer is hassling him really heavy now to turn it over ~ and we may even have our NOA2 by this week or next. He doesn't want to lose the job if we are denied for some reason, which I don't think we will be, but USCIS is taking so long that timewise, we're down to the wire. He's running out of excuses for not turning over his sponsorship to his employer. We're both sick with worry over this and just have no idea how this is going to play out for us... I don't want to lose him to the Saudi government, but for me to go there, I just don't know. He's been to the States (when we met 2 years ago)and speaks good English, but I've never been to the Middle East and don't speak Arabic. Is there anyone out there who has also had this problem with the sponsorship system or knows of anyone who has? :wacko:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My husband and I both worked in the Middle East so I understand your issue with sponsorship and keeping of passports as it was a similar system where we worked. What country is your husband from? Once he is in the states does he ever have any reason or desire to return to Saudi?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My husband and I both worked in the Middle East so I understand your issue with sponsorship and keeping of passports as it was a similar system where we worked. What country is your husband from? Once he is in the states does he ever have any reason or desire to return to Saudi?

Just a few other questions - Does he have any relatives in Saudi? Does he know anyone with any pull/wasta? Is returning home an option?

I would say if he needs to stay employed and cannot return home he should sign the contract. While I do not agree with this practice of companies keeping passports there is not much you or your husband can do about it if he wishes to stay employed there. When the time comes for your husband's interview he will need to fill out a form stating why he needs his passport in order to get his passport back. Passports are also returned when employees take their yearly vacations home. So there will be ways for him to get his passport back once his company has it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My husband and I both worked in the Middle East so I understand your issue with sponsorship and keeping of passports as it was a similar system where we worked. What country is your husband from? Once he is in the states does he ever have any reason or desire to return to Saudi?

My fiance is actually Palestinian, but he holds a Jordanian passport, was born, raised and currently lives in KSA. His entire family is in Jordan and Saudi Arabia. So, yes.... he would absolutely want to be able to go back to visit, and should some family emergency arise he would want to be there also. Very tight family.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My fiance and I have a NOA1 date of Feb. 28, VSC ... we've waited forever but are expecting to hear something any day. The problem is we may not get to be together in the US even if approved ~ the Saudi sponsorship system of expats threatens everything we've been waiting for. If he doesn't turn over his sponsorship and passport to his employer by the end of August, he will lose his job, and if he does turn it over, he has to stay employed with them for the next 2 years. He's been with this employer since March and should have turned it over in June but has been putting them off. The employer is hassling him really heavy now to turn it over ~ and we may even have our NOA2 by this week or next. He doesn't want to lose the job if we are denied for some reason, which I don't think we will be, but USCIS is taking so long that timewise, we're down to the wire. He's running out of excuses for not turning over his sponsorship to his employer. We're both sick with worry over this and just have no idea how this is going to play out for us... I don't want to lose him to the Saudi government, but for me to go there, I just don't know. He's been to the States (when we met 2 years ago)and speaks good English, but I've never been to the Middle East and don't speak Arabic. Is there anyone out there who has also had this problem with the sponsorship system or knows of anyone who has? :wacko:

similar situation with my fiance working in UAE on work visa just so i can sponsor him thru UAE instead of pakistan and they are holding his passport too thru work visa, im also scare by the time of interview later if somehow we get put on AP and the embassy are holding his passport will this cause a problem with the company sponsorship too...


Peårl £ûvs «Aåmïr»

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just a few other questions - Does he have any relatives in Saudi? Does he know anyone with any pull/wasta? Is returning home an option?

I would say if he needs to stay employed and cannot return home he should sign the contract. While I do not agree with this practice of companies keeping passports there is not much you or your husband can do about it if he wishes to stay employed there. When the time comes for your husband's interview he will need to fill out a form stating why he needs his passport in order to get his passport back. Passports are also returned when employees take their yearly vacations home. So there will be ways for him to get his passport back once his company has it.

He has many relatives in Saudi Arabia... and Jordan. I don't think he knows anyone with any pull... If he did, I would hope he would have thought of that by now. While his entire immediate family is in Riyadh, they moved there in the 1970's & he was born there, he does have aunts, uncles & cousins in Jordan. His father did just purchase an apartment in Jordan to stay at when the family is visiting relatives, but I don't think he'd just move in there. He does need to stay employed, and it's a very good company he works for, but he has a computer engineering degree and he is working for them as a corporate account manager. It's definitely not the work he wants to be doing. I've read so much online about the sponsorship system ~ how a 5 year study was done on it ~ and how they're reviewing the data now in preparation to employ a different system that does not confiscate passports. But he tells me that neither he nor anyone he knows has read any of the articles I've read online, or heard of the study. He did tell me that they've been hearing for years about a change, but nobody believes it. I sent him links to everything I read.

So, you don't think it's hopeless for us?? I wasn't aware that there is a form to fill out at the interview to get the passport back! I've been urging him to make a complete color photocopy of his passport, I don't know if that would do any kind of good, but it would be better to have it than not to have it. He did tell me about the yearly vacations, and he would be able to take his soon. He did think of this as an opportunity to possibly retrieve his passport, but we weren't sure if there would be any repercussions... but then again, he would need the passport to get his K1 visa, right? And that's where the form I was unaware of comes in. Would the company reserve the right to refuse him the passport in order to get the K1 to leave the country and move the the US? This is my biggest fear... we've waited so long now, 6 months, for our I-129F petition to be approved and we're so close ... expecting it any day now ... but the company is really pressuring him to transfer NOW. We're both so stressed out.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

similar situation with my fiance working in UAE on work visa just so i can sponsor him thru UAE instead of pakistan and they are holding his passport too thru work visa, im also scare by the time of interview later if somehow we get put on AP and the embassy are holding his passport will this cause a problem with the company sponsorship too...

Yes, AP ~ something else to worry about.... omg. :o It's like trying to jump rings of fire.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

<snip>

So, you don't think it's hopeless for us?? I wasn't aware that there is a form to fill out at the interview to get the passport back! I've been urging him to make a complete color photocopy of his passport, I don't know if that would do any kind of good, but it would be better to have it than not to have it. He did tell me about the yearly vacations, and he would be able to take his soon. He did think of this as an opportunity to possibly retrieve his passport, but we weren't sure if there would be any repercussions... but then again, he would need the passport to get his K1 visa, right? And that's where the form I was unaware of comes in. Would the company reserve the right to refuse him the passport in order to get the K1 to leave the country and move the the US? This is my biggest fear... we've waited so long now, 6 months, for our I-129F petition to be approved and we're so close ... expecting it any day now ... but the company is really pressuring him to transfer NOW. We're both so stressed out.

I don't think it's hopeless for you - it's never hopeless. It's just going to be about prioritizing.

Here is my take on your situation based on my experiences in UAE- some of which may hold true and some of which may not.

The company can't keep his passport for a whole two years and never give it back if he signs a new contract. They may make it difficult to get but it is not impossible. He is entitled to a yearly vacation and at the very least he will get it back for that. Does his company know he has applied for an immigrant visa (technically non immigrant visa) to the U.S.? How much are they aware of?

If he does not complete his contract there will be ramifications but he needs to find out specifically what those ramifications are - both within the company (he may need to be more subtle about those inquiries) and under KSA law. In UAE abandoning a contract would mostly affect your ability to work or obtain a work visa -which is how a large majority are able to reside in UAE- but in most cases it would not land you in jail. I think there used to be a ban on entry for a specific period of time but I believe that has changed. I don't know the specifics for Saudi but this is just to give you an idea about how the system can work.

If this is a company that doesn't have offices internationally or is unable to hire him in a field more suited to his degree you might want to have a conversation about what is worth it in the long run? If he's banned from working for 2 years in KSA or banned from the company forever - is that really an issue after he has his visa if it means he can still visit? What about the possibility that it means he can't visit KSA for 2 years? How would that change things for you guys? If quitting is not an option and he does not want to abandon his contract or he does not want the consequences associated with abandoning the contract do you want to wait the 2 years for him to end his employment in 'good standing' with his company? He can always use the K-1 to come to the US, marry you :) and then return to KSA. You would not file AOS and then after the 2 years was up you would file for a IR-1 visa. Not ideal but an option.

I knew of a few companies that were willing to give "No objection certificates/letters" for people who wanted to leave their jobs - usually depending on nationality or position. Perhaps you can ask your fiance if there is an equivalent in KSA and if he thinks his company would be amiable to giving him one.

This is a website for the Dubai newspaper "Gulf News". It's not Saudi law but they have a section called "Ask the Law" that might help give you some ideas to help you understand/problem solve your situation

http://gulfnews.com/uaessentials/ask-the-law

As far as having the passport in hand, my husband was able to fill out the form to obtain his passport a few times, including when he interviewed at the embassy and I would not under any circumstances say he worked for an understanding company. We put as the reason, interview for U.S. visa - we did not specify beyond that. After the interview if they keep your fiance's passport that is what he will tell his company. If they begin to pressure him - he can tell them to call the U.S. embassy. (If he gets put on AP and the embassy keeps the passport you can request it back but I would be nervous about being able to get it back from the company again). When he finally gets the fiance visa, how you proceed from there will depend on what steps you have chosen to take in regards to his exit from the company.

I think things are s-l-o-w-l-y starting to change in Dubai since we were there but I still wouldn't count on reform in KSA to resolve your situation. It might be helpful to keep in mind that because these laws are basically set up to keep people from quitting their positions for 2 years and given the fact that a lot can happen in life in 2 years, your husband is not the only person to have been in this situation and will not be the first person to consider abandoning his contract.

Hope this was somewhat helpful even if it didn't really give you any specific answers.

Oh and yes he absolutely should have a few color copies of his passport!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't think it's hopeless for you - it's never hopeless. It's just going to be about prioritizing.

Here is my take on your situation based on my experiences in UAE- some of which may hold true and some of which may not.

The company can't keep his passport for a whole two years and never give it back if he signs a new contract. They may make it difficult to get but it is not impossible. He is entitled to a yearly vacation and at the very least he will get it back for that. Does his company know he has applied for an immigrant visa (technically non immigrant visa) to the U.S.? How much are they aware of?

If he does not complete his contract there will be ramifications but he needs to find out specifically what those ramifications are - both within the company (he may need to be more subtle about those inquiries) and under KSA law. In UAE abandoning a contract would mostly affect your ability to work or obtain a work visa -which is how a large majority are able to reside in UAE- but in most cases it would not land you in jail. I think there used to be a ban on entry for a specific period of time but I believe that has changed. I don't know the specifics for Saudi but this is just to give you an idea about how the system can work.

If this is a company that doesn't have offices internationally or is unable to hire him in a field more suited to his degree you might want to have a conversation about what is worth it in the long run? If he's banned from working for 2 years in KSA or banned from the company forever - is that really an issue after he has his visa if it means he can still visit? What about the possibility that it means he can't visit KSA for 2 years? How would that change things for you guys? If quitting is not an option and he does not want to abandon his contract or he does not want the consequences associated with abandoning the contract do you want to wait the 2 years for him to end his employment in 'good standing' with his company? He can always use the K-1 to come to the US, marry you :) and then return to KSA. You would not file AOS and then after the 2 years was up you would file for a IR-1 visa. Not ideal but an option.

I knew of a few companies that were willing to give "No objection certificates/letters" for people who wanted to leave their jobs - usually depending on nationality or position. Perhaps you can ask your fiance if there is an equivalent in KSA and if he thinks his company would be amiable to giving him one.

This is a website for the Dubai newspaper "Gulf News". It's not Saudi law but they have a section called "Ask the Law" that might help give you some ideas to help you understand/problem solve your situation

http://gulfnews.com/uaessentials/ask-the-law

As far as having the passport in hand, my husband was able to fill out the form to obtain his passport a few times, including when he interviewed at the embassy and I would not under any circumstances say he worked for an understanding company. We put as the reason, interview for U.S. visa - we did not specify beyond that. After the interview if they keep your fiance's passport that is what he will tell his company. If they begin to pressure him - he can tell them to call the U.S. embassy. (If he gets put on AP and the embassy keeps the passport you can request it back but I would be nervous about being able to get it back from the company again). When he finally gets the fiance visa, how you proceed from there will depend on what steps you have chosen to take in regards to his exit from the company.

I think things are s-l-o-w-l-y starting to change in Dubai since we were there but I still wouldn't count on reform in KSA to resolve your situation. It might be helpful to keep in mind that because these laws are basically set up to keep people from quitting their positions for 2 years and given the fact that a lot can happen in life in 2 years, your husband is not the only person to have been in this situation and will not be the first person to consider abandoning his contract.

Hope this was somewhat helpful even if it didn't really give you any specific answers.

Oh and yes he absolutely should have a few color copies of his passport!

Wowww... so much information! Thank you so much for taking the time to tell me all of this! His company has NO idea of his plans at all. They are a Saudi internet provider, in KSA only. If he can still go back to visit, the ability to work there or not doesn't matter at all. But if it means he can't go back to visit.... well, he might not be able to afford to go back before 2 years anyhow! We'd be just starting our lives together, and everyone (who lives here, anyway) knows what it takes to get established here. Right now, his main concern is approval on the I-129F petition. If we could just get the approval notice, he'd be able to move forward with more confidence. We're expecting it any time now. For him to come here, marry me and go back ~ omg ~ I couldn't be without him for another 2 years!! :P And I have no idea what the rules/laws are concerning me going there to be with him... I'm going to copy him on the info you've shared with me. Thank you so much!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wowww... so much information! Thank you so much for taking the time to tell me all of this! His company has NO idea of his plans at all. They are a Saudi internet provider, in KSA only. If he can still go back to visit, the ability to work there or not doesn't matter at all. But if it means he can't go back to visit.... well, he might not be able to afford to go back before 2 years anyhow! We'd be just starting our lives together, and everyone (who lives here, anyway) knows what it takes to get established here. Right now, his main concern is approval on the I-129F petition. If we could just get the approval notice, he'd be able to move forward with more confidence. We're expecting it any time now.

That's great that he has an understanding and supportive family. I think you will be able to work this out. If he is unable to obtain a no objection certificate hopefully the consequences of abandoning his employment are 'doable'. Then he can file for his vacation and get his passport back so that he can come and marry you :)

For him to come here, marry me and go back ~ omg ~ I couldn't be without him for another 2 years!! :P And I have no idea what the rules/laws are concerning me going there to be with him... I'm going to copy him on the info you've shared with me. Thank you so much!

I understand this would be a last resort but once married (again based on my experiences in UAE not KSA) he should be able to sponsor you as his wife for a residence visa. Many times if your residence is sponsored through your employer or if you have legal residence in general then you can sponsor your spouse. There can be a min. salary requirement to do this but as long as he isn't too low on the totem pole he should be able to manage it. (There could be some nationality requirements too but as a Palestinian with a Jordanian passport it should be fine). Also once you are married you don't need to worry about not being able to cohabit with him or go out with him even if you go there on visits - it will be legal. Just make sure to bring your marriage certificate with you.

Hope you hear about your petition approval soon!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Beejay, again thank you for taking the time and interest to offer all this information... its been a long, blind and often lonely road. Mo'az is having to tranfer sponsorship this week. And we are also within our adjudication date range (Aug. 30 - Sept. 4) but have heard nothing yet. With the Labor Day holiday, I'm sure that will cause more delay... But now we have a better idea of what can be done. As far as his family goes, I did say they are tight with eachother, but not so sure they would be supportive of us. . He hasn't told them about me because he knows they would foil his attempt to leave KSA ... and may not accept me as family. He plans to just leave for a "vacation" from which he will not return. He said he'd tell them about me after we're married.... he doesn't want to "give his heart away" ~ meaning ... me. So you see, we're really up against much more than sponsorship, passports & Vermont Service Center. Your insight as to how things work there will prove to be invaluable, I'm sure, and from the bottom of our hearts, we thank you!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That is a lot to be dealing with and I hope that you and Mo'az are able to find the best solution that fits your situation. I hope for tolerance and acceptance from his family and courage and strength from your fiance.

You might find more support in the regional MENA (Middle East North Africa) forum on this site:

http://www.visajourney.com/forums/forum/97-middle-east-and-north-africa/

Best of luck to you Karen and wishing you and your future husband lots of happiness.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
 
Didn't find the answer you were looking for? Ask our VJ Immigration Lawyers.

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  
- Back to Top -


Important Disclaimer: Please read carefully the Visajourney.com Terms of Service. If you do not agree to the Terms of Service you should not access or view any page (including this page) on VisaJourney.com. Answers and comments provided on Visajourney.com Forums are general information, and are not intended to substitute for informed professional medical, psychiatric, psychological, tax, legal, investment, accounting, or other professional advice. Visajourney.com does not endorse, and expressly disclaims liability for any product, manufacturer, distributor, service or service provider mentioned or any opinion expressed in answers or comments. VisaJourney.com does not condone immigration fraud in any way, shape or manner. VisaJourney.com recommends that if any member or user knows directly of someone involved in fraudulent or illegal activity, that they report such activity directly to the Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement. You can contact ICE via email at Immigration.Reply@dhs.gov or you can telephone ICE at 1-866-347-2423. All reported threads/posts containing reference to immigration fraud or illegal activities will be removed from this board. If you feel that you have found inappropriate content, please let us know by contacting us here with a url link to that content. Thank you.
×