Crackdown on illegals: 4.33m foreigners arrested thus far

A total of 4.33 million foreign residents were arrested in Saudi Arabia since November 2017 for violating the country's residency and work regulations. — File photo

Saudi Gazette report

Saudi Arabia has deported a total of 1,089,793 illegal foreigners since November 2017 in a nationwide crackdown that saw more than 4.33 million people rounded up in various parts of the Kingdom for violating residency and labor regulations. The Interior Ministry said security forces apprehended a total of 4,330,769 expatriates in what is dubbed as a Nation Free of Illegals campaign until Thursday, Dec. 12, the Saudi Press Agency reported late Friday quoting campaign officials.

The campaign was launched in mid-November 2017 with the participation of 19 ministries and government departments including the Ministry of Labor and Social Development and the Directorate General of Passports (Jawazat).

Officials said 3,385,861 people were arrested for violating the system of residency, 664,809 for not adhering to labor regulations and 280,099 for trying to breach border security.

They said 78,244 people were arrested while sneaking into the Kingdom through its southern borders. About 42 percent of the infiltrators were Yemenis, 55 percent Ethiopians and 3 percent from various other nationalities.

According to the campaign sources, 4,725 people were charged with sheltering illegal residents by providing with accommodation and transportation. They included 1,746 Saudi nationals, 1,705 were interrogated, punished and released while 41 were still being interrogated.

The sources said 14,871 illegal expatriates, including 13,129 men and 1,742 women, were currently being held in various detention centers in the country.

They said 546,674 violators were referred to their respective embassies and consulates to issue them travel documents while 727,783 were completing their flight bookings for final exit from the Kingdom.