Saudi Arabia has decided to grant citizenship to expatriates under a new law, a move that will help some of the seven million foreigners, including Indians, working in the kingdom.
Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah has instructed officials to grant Saudi citizenship to a number of applicants in accordance with the Kingdom's law.
The Interior Ministry started accepting citizenship applications on May 23, 2005 and priority was given to applicants holding doctorates in medicine, engineering and other sciences.
Applicants must accumulate a minimum of 23 points to qualify in the first stage of the process. The applications will be studied thoroughly by a three-member panel and will be given 33 points: 10 points for 10-year continuous stay, 13 points for specializations required by the country and 10 points for family relations.
An applicant will get 13 points for a doctorate in medicine or engineering, 10 points for those holding doctorates in other sciences and eight points for Master's degrees.
King Abdullah, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, also declared amnesty to some prisoners, Interior Minister Prince Naif was quoted as saying in Arab News.
Prince Naif said the pardon covered "convicts in all the Kingdom's prisons who do not pose a danger to security and are not involved in major crimes."
King Abdullah also instructed payment of debts and blood money for prisoners who have insufficient funds of their own, to allow their reintegration into society, the minister said.