Over 570,000 expats benefit from amnesty

Expatriates seeking to benefit from the amnesty at a Jawazat office in Riyadh. — Courtesy photo

Saudi Gazette report

RIYADH — The number of illegal expatriates taking advantage of the Kingdom’s amnesty campaign has reached 572,488 a Passports Department (Jawazat) statement said.

The Interior Ministry launched a 90-day amnesty campaign called "Nation Free of Violators" beginning March 29 that asked labor and residence violators to leave the Kingdom without penalties. The initial amnesty that was to end on June 25 but was extend by a month.

The Jawazat said more than 12,000 expatriates who left voluntarily have come back legally to the Kingdom with new work visas.

"Some of them have come back within a week of their departure," it added.

Under the rules of the campaign, any expat violating the rules of residence and work, would not be fingerprinted at the time of departure and could come back to the Kingdom legally any time.

The Jawazat, which has established about 50 reception points for the expatriates to complete their departure procedures, has asked all the violators to avail themselves of the remaining grace period to leave the country voluntarily so as to have a chance to come back again legally.

It also warned the violators who have completed their departure procedures but are still staying in the Kingdom that they would be jailed and penalized.

Last month a senior Jawazat official asked illegal residents and workers to take advantage of the remaining days before the amnesty deadline. Exemptions for undocumented residents and workers leaving voluntarily include imprisonment, fees, and fines, which are normally applied to violators of residence, employment and border security regulations.

The official warned that security authorities will track down potential violators after the amnesty period expires and impose strict penalties including imprisonment, fines, deportation and a ban from entering Saudi Arabia.