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15,000 illegal expats arrested in Saudi Arabia

Riyadh : More than 15,000 illegal foreign workers were arrested in Saudi Arabia’s Jeddah city for violating the country’s residency and labour regulations, a media report said Friday.

The arrests were made over the past few months, Arab News quoted police spokesperson Aati bin Attiyah Al-Qurashi as saying. He added that those arrested included beggars and street vendors as well as cleaners of cars on streets.

“We have instructed real estate owners not to provide accommodation or shelter to illegal workers in their buildings,” he said, adding that the law’s violators would be punished.

“The raids to track down violators will continue until the last illegal expat is deported from the country,” said the spokesperson.

Labour ministry officials also initiated action against 130 foreign workers in Al-Ahsa for working for firms other than their sponsors and taking on jobs other than the professions written in their contracts, as well as residents without identification.

The ministry also carried out raids in Qatif, Jubail and Ras Tannura.

In a major crackdown in July this year, Saudi authorities arrested 21 Indians for residing illegally in the country.

Saudi Arabia started a crackdown on illegal workers since April last year.

The government issued an amnesty period giving illegal migrants seven months to gain legal status.

Since then, one million Bangladeshis, Indians, Filipinos, Nepalis, Pakistanis and Yemenis have left the country.