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Saudi Arabia effects six-fold increase in visa fee

New Delhi: Saudi Arabia has effected an almost six-fold improve in visa charge, an order which might make Haj pilgrimage very expensive, based on a media report, which mentioned many Muslim nations have been offended over this transfer.

The report mentioned {that a} single entry visa will now price $533, up from $93, a a number of entry, 6-month visa would price $800 and a one-year visa would price $1,333.

The revised visa charges have an effect on all vacationers, non secular or enterprise guests, however exempts these travelling for the primary time to carry out the annual Hajj pilgrimage or the lesser, non-mandatory pilgrimage often called the Umrah, mentioned the report in Quartz Africa.

The pilgrimage entails appreciable prices for guests, particularly for transportation and lodging.

The plan, which was based mostly on a advice from the Saudi Ministries of Finance and Financial system, got here into impact on October 2 and coincided with the start of the brand new Islamic yr, the report mentioned.

The brand new guidelines are seen as a part of a wider marketing campaign to reduce the dominion’s dependence on oil and to extend revenues in different areas, together with immigration charges, it mentioned.

Saudia Arabia, which is the largest oil producer on this planet, has been considerably impacted by the falling oil costs.

In September, the Saudi authorities introduced it could minimize the wages and allowances of civil servants for the primary time. It got here towards the backdrop of the extended conflict in Yemen that Saudi Arabia has been engaged in.

The transfer to extend the charges could possibly be very vital for the dominion, provided that tens of millions of Muslims undertake the pilgrimage to Mecca and Medina yearly, the media report mentioned.

The transfer has incensed many Muslim nations or these with a big Muslim inhabitants, it mentioned.

Moroccan journey businesses agreed to boycott servicing the journeys to Mecca till the exorbitant charges have been abolished, the report mentioned, including Turkey, Egypt, and Nigeria have all expressed their opposition to the brand new plan. Muslims in South Africa began a petition calling the visa charges “inhumane”, and requested the Saudi authorities to both scrap the cost or to drastically scale back them.

Yusuf Abramjee, the secretary basic of the council of Muslim theologians in South Africa mentioned that the neighborhood understands that “the state of the global economy is one of the reasons” pushing the Saudi authorities to take these measures, the media report mentioned.

“But again, you cannot go and profit from pilgrims. It is wrong. Our religion forbids that.” Up to now, he mentioned, communication with the Saudi authorities hasn’t been forthcoming. “All the calls for clarity have gone on deaf ears,” Abramjee was quoted as saying.

The quantity of people that can carry out the hajj are decided by a Saudi authorities quota, and has been dwindling over the previous couple of years as a consequence of a mixture of enlargement plans, or to restrict ailments like MERS, a respiratory an infection, or Ebola.

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