Help thousands of Eritreans families living in Saudi avoid being deported

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Dear SIr,

I know how busy you are but I really need your full attention here.

There are thousands of Eritreans living in Saudi Arabia for more than three decades. To be exact, Most Eritreans came to Saudi Arabia during the war between Eritrea and Ethiopia. The King of Saudi at that time gave them permission to live and work freely in any part of the kingdom. 

After the war, a new era of dictatorship started and it is well known to you. Since there are many countries recognize the independent of Eritrea and its government, Eritrean in Saudi were forced to change their UN travel documents to Eritrean Passports. They started paying taxes to a country they never knew in addition to paying contributions they don't have the choice not to pay them. Eritreans in Saudi have to renew their residence visa every two years. The renewal of the visa is linked with the validity of the passport. Therefore, every family must pay the tax to Eritrean government in addition to renewal fees to avoid losing their passport as well as paying huge fees to the Saudi Authorities to renew their visa.

Another problem was the hardship of making money or getting higher education for the Eritrean kids in the kingdom. High school is the maximum allowed level foreigners can achieve in Saudi, and up until recent years higher education was only permitted for locals/Saudis. So there is no way to have good income when the parents are here since the war with no good education. Most of them left Eritrea in young age.

The worst had come when the government of Saudi Arabia started on July this year to impose fees for family members accompanying their parents. Starting at SAR 100.00 per month per member and gradually increase by 100 every year until reaches 400 per month per member. So a family of five members will have to pay for four members around SAR 4800.00 for the first year, doubling in the second year to reach to SAR 9600.00, tripled to SAR 14400 in the third year and finally hitting SAR 19200 in the fourth year. This is a total of SAR 48000! This is only the fees paid for family members. There are other fees for renewing the visa that will average SAR 10k per year in addition to house rentals, transportation food and education costs. 

Eritrean families do not have the privilege of finding alternative place to move to. They cannot go back to Eritrea due to the dictatorship and lack of their basic human rights in addition to the military service their kids must do and might never come back from. Therefore the risk of not being able to pay all this money is very high. However, there are huge consequences for not paying those fees (i.e. Tax collected by the Eritrean Embassy to renew the passport which is mandatory to renew their visa in Saudi + Fees paid to renew the visa paid to Saudi Immigration Authority + New fees imposed by Saudi Government on the family members accompanying their parents).

Consequences:
Not paying the family members fees will not permit the main visa holder from renewing the visa. Not renewing the visa will lead to putting them and their dependants, basically the whole family in Jail awaiting their deportation to Eritrea. Deporting the family to Eritrea will lead to a huge risk to their lives and their family members lives. I'm not talking about one single case, there are thousands of Eritrean Families facing this problem and I urge you to look into the issue with great concern.

Suggested Solution:
Eritreans are welcomed in Canada. Please find a way to open the door for them to migrate to Canada. Either by talking to the Canadians to make it easy for Eritrean families to obtain an Entry visa to Canada as refugees in political and humanitarian basis. This will solve the issue once and for all. And all these lives will be saved and their problem will come to an end.

In conclusion, I'm not criticizing Saudi and its right to collect whatever fees they want. I'm bringing your attention to a huge humanitarian problem facing a big number of people who deserve a better life.

Thank you for having the time to read this letter. I hope you will give it all the support you can.



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