Jakarta (Indonesia Window) – The Saudi government has arrested around 3.95 million foreigners living in the country for violating labor and residency regulations, Saudi Gazette quoted Saudi Press Agency (SPA) which cited interior ministry officials as saying.
The royal government deported 982,113 foreign nationals to their respective countries since November 2017, Saudi Gazette reported over the weekend.
The Saudi interior ministry launched a raid on illegal residents on 15 November 2017 involving 19 government departments including the Directorate General of Passports (Jawazat) and the Ministry of Labor and Social Development.
Officials said 3,947,267 foreign nationals were arrested for violating residency, labor and border security regulations.
Of these, 3,083,103 people were arrested for violating residency regulations, 607,834 violated labor laws and 256,330 for violating border security.
Officials said as many as 67,299 people were arrested while trying to enter Saudi Arabia through the southern border. About 45 percent of them are Yemenis, 52 percent from Ethiopia, and the rest (three percent) from various countries.
Officials also say 2,811 people were arrested while trying to leave Saudi Arabia illegally.
According to them, 4,547 people, including 1,609 Saudi nationals, were arrested for providing transportation and accommodation for illegal residents.
They said 1,581 Saudis were arrested for interrogation as they protected illegal foreigners. They have been convicted and released, while 28 others are still under investigation.
Meanwhile, currently 12,731 foreigners are serving sentences, consisting of 11,113 men and 1,618 women.
On March 29, 2017 the Saudi Interior Ministry launched the Campaign for Illegal Foreigners. Violators of residence permits that exceed the overstay visa, residency and labor laws are given 90 days to leave Saudi Arabia without being subject to punishment.
Saudi authorities estimate that more than 750,000 people from 140 countries have benefited from the amnesty when the grace period ends. But hundreds of thousands of others are still in the kingdom because they do not care about the consequences or cannot take advantage of the amnesty offer.
Reporting by Indonesia Window