Monday, 5 March 2012

Biometrics to register expat women

Today in Saudi Gazette......

Biometrics system to register all expat women RIYADH – The Directorate General for Passports is to start registering all expatriate women on its biometrics system from Saturday, March 31. Col. Badr Bin Muhammad Al-Malik, Director of the Information Affairs Administration and Spokesman of the Directorate General for Passports, said the system will be implemented across the Kingdom. The first stage will begin when expatriate women submit applications for the first issue of a new residence permit (iqama), when transferring sponsorship, changing their profession or replacing a lost iqama. Al-Malik called on employers to visit the fingerprint centers to register the expatriate female employees. They can visit the directorate’s website to see a list of all the centers. A biometrics system includes, but is not limited to, fingerprints, face recognition, retina or iris recognition, palm prints and DNA, according to Wikipedia. Meanwhile according to a circular issued by the authorities, all expatriates living in Saudi Arabia should have machine-readable passports by Nov. 24, 2012, failing which, they may face problems while commuting in and out of the country, the Saudi government has said. – SG/SPA __

Biometrics, for those of you who don't know,  is an identity management and monitoring system.  It's usage will apparently better protect people and countries from identity fraud and terrorism.  Countries utilise it to strengthen security - which basically means keep an eye on people and their movements. 

Biometric systems use various human characteristics to determine identity which includes fingerprinting and face, iris and voice recognition technology.

Saudi Arabia started introducing the system back in 2010 as part of 'getting the country organised'.  At the airport customs there are eye-scanners and fingerprinting pads - neither of which I've had the pleasure to use over the past two years of coming and going.  Not sure why not.  I'm guessing that gear will disappear once the Kingdom has set up Biometric Centers in various locations around the country for all those global adventurers who want to get out of, and back into, the country.  Presumably, with the introduction of machine readable passports all over the globe, Smartgates will start being installed at Saudi international airports fairly soon.  Perhaps when they start the rumoured airport revamps.

The Biometric system is expected to improve services to visa applicants - presumably that includes both exit and entry visas.  Does this mean we will get our entry and exit visa's any faster?  Will we still need entry and exit visas?  Will employers still take passports off employees, even though they aren't supposed to?

Time will tell.

Though Biometrics for visa's may be new to Saudi Arabia, some firms have already introduced biometric fingerprinting as clock in - clock out systems for their employees.  The first company to do this in Saudi did so to ensure the people they paid to work actually arrived at work and stayed at work.    For employees who still insisted on leaving work for hours at a time the company implemented strategies to penalise them, which was mostly docking their pay.

You can imagine that didn't go down well. 

It is reasonable for a company to expect their employees are getting paid to work, but this is Saudi.  It is also commonly accepted that most of this modern Saudi generation (the ones higher up the hierarchy that is) have no idea what a hard days work actually is.  The locals (male particularly) have a reputation of tiring easily - Hubby, who stays at work till 8 or 9pm most work days, tells the story of a local colleague who stayed till 8 pm one evening out of the two years said colleague had been employed at the company, and couldn't come to work the next day cos he was exhausted by his effort.

Is a biometric system at work going to make locals be any more productive? 
I doubt it.

And what affect does form of timekeeping system have on the Saudi women at home.  Women who can't go anywhere unless their men can take a very long lunch, (I've heard one call it his second job lunch), to cart them around.  Either the women have to stay home all day or the family income takes a hit.  It's a safe bet the effect on women or the fabric of Saudi society wasn't taken into consideration when companies introduced a biometric system at work.

The article above focuses on expat women being the first to be biometircally registered. 
I wonder why.

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  1. IN this advance technology globel world now it is quite hard to use security system but with out heat mapping or biometric security system

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