194,000 illegal expatriates held in Saudi Arabia

Manama: More than 194,000 foreigners staying illegally in Saudi Arabia were held in campaigns that stretched from November 15 to December 11.

According to the figures released by the police, 107,497 of the 194,089 did not have valid residence permits while 59,121 did not have valid work permits and 27,471 broke the border crossing laws.

The police caught 2,107 people attempting to cross the borders into the kingdom illegally. Yemenis constitute the majority with 77 per cent of the total, followed by Ethiopians with 22 per cent. The other nationalities made up the remaining one per cent. The authorities have so far deported 2,029 of those who tried to enter the kingdom clandestinely, Saudi news site Sabq reported on Wednesday.

The police said they caught 42 people for trying to cross illegally the borders out of Saudi Arabia and 434, including 75 Saudis, for harbouring or transporting residents staying illegally in the country after their work or residency permits expired.

The police said that the legal procedures with 57 of the Saudis have been completed while the competent authorities will look into the 18 remaining cases.

The figures show that 37,563 law violators have been deported while 27,965 are waiting for the confirmation of their departure dates.

The police have referred 26,115 foreigners to their diplomatic missions to obtain travel documents from them.

According to the report, 24,151 are facing legal action.

Foreigners staying illegally in Saudi Arabia were given three months, starting March 29, to leave the kingdom without paying fines or facing legal measures.

The grace period was part of the “Nation Free of Violators” campaign to help undocumented expatriates regularise their status.

Illegal expatriates were warned that they would have to pay fines ranging from 15,000 to 100,000 riyals if they failed to regularise their situation or leave the country within the 90-day amnesty.

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