All illegals at shelters in Riyadh have been deported to their respective countries as the government stepped up its campaign against undocumented foreigners. Around 150,000 illegals have left the Kingdom since the Nov. 3 amnesty deadline.
“We have deported 137,569 illegal foreign workers until Dec. 6,” said Maj. Gen. Ayed Alluqmani, assistant director-general of the Passport Department. He said the department was operating 22 flights daily to deport illegals from Jeddah’s King Abdulaziz International Airport.
The department has expedited procedures to speed up deportation after recording the biometrics of illegals. “We have sent out 5,782 illegals from the Shumaisi shelter near Makkah over the past 24 hours,” Alluqmani said.
The Shumaisi shelter receives 5,000 to 7,000 illegals daily and measures have been taken for their quick deportation, he said. “We have recorded the fingerprints of 87,000 illegals in the Makkah region alone,” he added.
Deported illegals include more than 100,000 Ethiopians. Up to 50,000 Ethiopians are still expected to come home, said the country’s Foreign Minister, Tedros Adhanom. According to one report, about 200,000 Yemenis have left the Kingdom during the amnesty.
Around 30,000 Bangladeshis returned home by November, said Nazmul Islam, the country’s consul general in Jeddah. More than 750,000 Bangladeshis took advantage of the amnesty, he added.
Sibi George, deputy chief of mission at the Indian Embassy in Riyadh, told Arab News that more than 141,000 Indians have left the Kingdom, making use of the seven-month amnesty. “They were not deported, as they left on their own,” he said. About 1.4 million Indians corrected their legal status during the amnesty, including changing profession, transferring their sponsorship and renewing resident permits.
George expressed his optimism that new mega projects in Saudi Arabia, such as the Riyadh metro, would create more job opportunities for Indians and other nationals. He spoke about his recent meeting with the newly appointed Passport Chief, Maj. Gen. Sulaiman Al-Yahya. “We discussed all issues of mutual concern.”
Col. Fawaz Al-Maiman, assistant spokesman to the Passport Department, meanwhile, said that deportation committees are working round-the-clock to complete procedures.
He said the campaign to capture violators of labor and iqama laws would continue, calling on all citizens to cooperate with inspection committees and refrain from harboring illegals.
Economic analysts, meanwhile, said the departure of illegals would help the Kingdom save $7 billion in remittances.