Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Fahd bin Abdulaziz yesterday evening chaired the regular weekly session of the Council of Ministers, and expressed optimism that this blessed month of Ramadan would provide a good opportunity for individual reappraisal and re-examination of behavior, urging all Muslims to work tirelessly for the welfare of the Muslim World. The Cabinet then reviewed the directives given on Sunday by Deputy Prime Minister and Commander of the National Guard Crown Prince Abdullah bin Abdulaziz to the Chief of the General Staff, Commanders of the Armed Forces, and Commanders and Officers of the Public Security Forces and the Civil Defense for the crucial role they have been playing for the preservation of the country's security and safety.
The Cabinet also reviewed the latest developments in Palestine and the inhuman practices of the Israeli occupation forces, and urged the international community to put pressure on Israel to comply with United Nations resolutions. On Iraq, the Cabinet expressed regret at the continued violence that has caused the deaths of hundreds of innocent Iraqis, and urged all concerned parties to take the blessed month of Ramadan as a turning point to enhance the pillars of security and stability in that country.
Turning to domestic issues, the Cabinet passed a number of resolutions, including reinstatement of the Board of Directors of the Manpower Council, now part of the Ministry of Labor; and approval of amendments to a number of articles in the system governing Saudi Arabian nationality.
Further to its decision [in March 2004] to divide the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs into two independent ministries, the Cabinet confirmed that the Ministry of Labor shall undertake the responsibilities of the Manpower Council, with the Minister of Labor as Chairman of its Board of Directors, and as members, representatives from the ministries of Finance; Economy and Planning; Commerce and Industry; and Water and Electricity; in addition to the General Organization for Technical Education and Vocational Training and the Institute of Public Administration, and three members representing the private sector to be nominated by the Minister of Commerce and Industry and appointed by the Cabinet.
Saudi Arabian nationality
In light of a memorandum submitted by Minister of Interior Prince Nayef bin Abdulaziz, the Cabinet approved amendments to articles 9, 12, 14, 16, 17, 21, 26 and 27 of the Nationality Law that was issued by Royal Decree number 8/20/5604 dated 22/2/1374 [October 19, 1954]. The amended articles are as follows:
Nationality shall be granted to expatriates who meet the following conditions:
(a) The expatriate should be an adult who has been resident in the Kingdom for at least ten consecutive years.
(b) The expatriate should be fit physically and mentally.
(c) The expatriate should be of a good behavior and with no record of judicial verdict for a moral crime that resulted in imprisonment for a period exceeding six months.
(d) The expatriate should hold a vocation of which the country is in need; this condition, however, does not hold for those who were born in the Kingdom from foreign mothers and unidentified fathers.
(e) The expatriate should be earning money through legal means.
(f) The expatriate should have a good command of the Arabic language, written as well as spoken.
The applicant for nationality should attach to the application a residence permit and a passport; or instead of a passport, any other document considered by the concerned authorities to be equivalent, or any other document pertaining to the applicant’s current nationality that is being given up; and any other document that is required under the regulations of this system.
In the event that a Saudi man acquires the nationality of another country, his wife shall not necessarily be deprived of her Saudi Arabian nationality unless she makes the decision to join her husband in his new nationality. A juvenile (that is non-adult) child shall, however, be deprived of his or her Saudi Arabian nationality, joining the father in the new nationality; but shall be entitled to regain Saudi Arabian nationality within one year after reaching legal adult age.
Once an expatriate man acquires Saudi Arabian nationality:
(a) His wife automatically acquires Saudi Arabian nationality if she is in the Kingdom, or when she arrives in the Kingdom, and requests it.
(b) His non-adult children will automatically acquire Saudi Arabian nationality if they are resident in the Kingdom or if they arrive in the Kingdom prior to reaching full legal age; within one year of reaching legal age, however, they will have the right to revert to the original nationality of their father. In the case of a child who reaches legal age before Saudi Arabian nationality is granted to the father, the Interior Minister is authorized to grant Saudi Arabian nationality if the child has been legally resident in the Kingdom for a period of not less than five years, and if an application is presented within one year from the date of the father being granted Saudi Arabian nationality.
The Interior Minister is authorized to grant Saudi Arabian nationality to a foreign woman who is married to a Saudi national, or to a foreign widow of a Saudi national if she requests it and revokes her original nationality. The Interior Minister reserves the right to cancel her Saudi nationality if her marital relations with the Saudi husband no longer exist for any reason; and in the event she reverts to her original nationality or acquires any other foreign nationality, the executive statute will determine the required restrictions.
A Saudi woman shall not be deprived of her nationality if she marries a non-Saudi unless she decides upon that course and announces her willingness to join the nationality of her husband.
In line with a proposal presented by the Interior Minister, Saudi Arabian nationality granted to any person may be revoked, within ten years of the date it was acquired, in these two cases:
(a) If that person is convicted by a court or imprisoned for a period exceeding one year, for committing an immoral act.
(b) If that person is convicted by a court for perpetrating or participating in an act that undermines the security of the Kingdom and is determined to be persona non grata.
If any person presents false information or false documents with the intention of acquiring Saudi Arabian nationality either for himself or herself, or for any other person, then the Court of Grievances shall impose a penalty not exceeding two years’ imprisonment or a fine of SR 30,000.
The Interior Minister will issue the executive statute and the required decisions for this system within 120 days from the publication of these amendments in the official gazette.