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Interior Ministry deports 62,514 illegal expatriates

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The Ministry of Interior announced on Friday that it had deported 62,514 illegal expatriates last month, as part of its efforts to clean up the country’s labor market.

It had also arrested 17,740 foreigners over the same period, who had tried to enter the Kingdom illegally through the country’s land entry points.

The expatriates were kept at detention centers across the country under the supervision of Ibrahim Muhammad Al-Hamzi, head of the General Directorate of Prisons. They were provided with food and medical care.

The government also paid for the airfare of those who could not afford it. Most offenders, however, were able to pay for their own return tickets or were assisted by their missions.

Col. Ziyad Abdulwahab Al-Ruqaiti, spokesman for the Eastern Province police, said 101,302 illegal workers were arrested last year in the region.

These workers were discovered during raids on workers’ camps, construction sites, retail outlets, and public places in Dammam, Al-Thuqba, Al-Ahsa and Hafr Al-Batin.

During the first month of the new Hijri year 1436, which started in October, security officers in the Makkah region arrested 35,744 expatriates including those who overstayed their Haj, Umrah and visit visas, said Lt. Col. Aati bin Atiyyah Al-Qurashi, spokesman of the police in the region.

Under the guidance of Riyadh Gov. Prince Turki bin Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz, the Riyadh police also conducted inspections in parts of the capital to apprehend illegal workers.

Saudi Arabia has stepped up its campaign against illegal foreign workers in a bid to clean up the labor market and create jobs for unemployed citizens.

During the amnesty offered by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah, the ministry gave stranded workers time to correct their employment status. It warned that workers who had not complied with the law would be arrested and deported.

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