The Kingdom’s security forces have arrested thousands of illegal expatriate workers countrywide since the crackdown began on Monday, with Makkah Province accounting for over 5,000 arrests.
“More than 5,000 expatriate workers were arrested on the very first day of the police campaign against violators of labor and residency laws,” Col. Badar bin Saud Al-Saud, spokesman of the Directorate of Makkah Police, said on Tuesday.
Al-Saud said security officers raided places frequented by illegal workers. He said the campaign would stop the exploitation of undocumented workers.
“This campaign should not be misconstrued as an attempt to drive out expatriate workers but to regularize the status of foreign workers in the Kingdom. So we seek the cooperation of all citizens and expatriates,” Al-Saud said.
He said those who started their rectification process before the end of the amnesty period would not be considered violators. However, they would have to prove they submitted their applications on time.
Col. Abdul Aziz Al-Zenaidi, police spokesman in Hail, said in a statement that officers arrested 201 illegal workers in the province from Monday to Tuesday morning.
The police in Northern Border Province arrested 68 illegal workers in the first 24 hours after the campaign was launched in the region, said Brig. Bandar Al-Eida, spokesman of the police in the province.
Capt. Abdullah Al-Ashwi, spokesman of Najran police, said officers arrested 1,187 illegal workers and drivers transporting them. The police and other security forces arrested and imprisoned 121 workers in Taif on Monday.
The Security Control Branch of Qassim police arrested 297 illegal workers across the region on the first day of the campaign, said Col. Fahd Al-Habdan, spokesman of Qassim police. The raids started at 6 a.m. on Monday and ended at 2 a.m. Tuesday.