Illegal expatriate workers are arrested in Riyadh’s Manfouha district in this 2014 file photo. (SPA)
More than 200,000 foreigners have been deported over the first four months of 1436 AH, which started on Oct. 25, for violating the Kingdom’s residency and labor regulations, sources said.
According to figures released by the Passport Department recently, 58,710 illegal expatriates were deported in the first month of Muharram (Oct. 25 to Nov. 22), 63,762 in Safar (Nov. 23 to Dec. 22) and 59,569 in Rabi Al-Awwal (Dec. 23 to Jan. 20).
Maj. Gen. Khalafallah Al-Tuwaireqi, director of the Passports Department in Makkah region, said more than 41,000 violators have been deported in the fourth month of Rabi Al-Thani from this region alone.
“The deportees included different nationalities,” said Al-Tuwaireqi, adding that the deportations took place from Jan. 21 to March 3. Every day the department deports 1,500 to 2,000 violators, he said.
Meanwhile, the police in Madinah and Baha arrested 6,654 illegal workers last month, senior officials confirmed on Thursday.
According to security spokesman Col. Fahd Al-Ghannam, the Madinah raids included several neighborhoods, with 5,389 people arrested. A total of 48,773 people have now been arrested in the region since the campaign began.
Last month, the police in the Baha region arrested 1,267 expats who violated regulations, said Col. Saad bin Saleh Al-Tarrad, media spokesman for the region’s police.
The officials said that the workers had flouted the country’s work and residency laws and would now face prosecution and deportation at the expense of the government.
They said the raids would continue in the regions, including operations to apprehend criminals involved in theft, sorcery and brewing liquor.
Security agencies have, meanwhile, stepped up preparations to carry out the second phase of a major campaign to flush out illegal aliens as part of efforts to strengthen the country’s security and create jobs for citizens.
Lt. Col. Ahmed Al-Laheedan, spokesman of the department, said 37 committees have been set up to investigate illegal foreigners. “After investigating the violators, the data is fed into the system, punitive action is taken against them, followed by coordination with embassies and airlines to deport them,” Al-Laheedan said.
Passport Director General Sulaiman Al-Yahya has ruled out the need for more shelters.
“There is good coordination with embassies and airlines to carry out the deportations quickly. So there will not be any need for more shelters to house them,” he said.
There are now 43 shelters in the country including 13 in Riyadh, six in the Eastern Province, four in Makkah and three each in Madinah, Qassim and Asir.
Al-Yahya said the department has speeded up deportation procedures, with illegal workers staying no more than seven days, except in rare cases. About 48 percent of the deportations have taken place through King Abdulaziz Airport in Jeddah and 33 percent via the Tiwal border checkpoint in Jazan.