Iqama ‘Smart Cards’ Soon
Abdul Maqsood Mirza, Arab News
JEDDAH, 10 June 2006 — Electronic iqama cards will soon be made available to expatriate workers in the Makkah Region as the passport department is currently installing the equipment to issue such smart cards, according to Brig. Muhammad Hassan Al-Asmari, director general of the department.
Speaking to Arab News, Al-Asmari said his department decided to issue electronic iqama cards in place of booklets as part of efforts to prevent forgery and provide advanced services to both Saudis and expatriates.
“We handle more than 16,000 applications daily,” he said while talking about the pressure of work at the department’s office in Jeddah, especially during summer when a large number of Saudis and expatriates travel abroad to spend their holidays.
Al-Asmari said the department was also training its officers on how to use the new equipment to issue smart iqama cards and how to overcome problems.
He hoped that the department would be able to complete the installation of the equipment and training of its staff within the next few weeks.
The new smart card will carry all personal information about the holder, informed sources said.
The permit will bear the full name of the worker in both Arabic and English, the number, expiry date, photo, date of birth, nationality, profession, religion and the employer’s full name.
The information on the card cannot be tampered with, said the sources.
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