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A total of 54,449 illegals, including 5,328 women, are currently being subjected to legal measures. For illustrative purposes only. Image Credit: Agency

Cairo: Saudi Arabia had rounded up 18,538 foreign violators of its residency, labour and border security laws in one week and 9,927 others were deported as part of a relentless nationwide crackdown on illegal expatriates.

The arrests were made in different areas of the kingdom during the January 4-10 period, according to the Saudi news agency SPA.

They included 11,047 violators of the kingdom’s residency system, 4,299 more violators of border security rules and 3,192 others for having breached the labour laws, SPA reported, citing a breakdown from the Interior Ministry.

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A total of 54,449 illegals, including 5,328 women, are currently being subjected to legal measures.

Some 47,977 others have been referred to their respective diplomatic missions to obtain travel documents ahead of deportation, while 1,892 more illegals were referred to finalise travel reservations.

Six persons were arrested during the same period for involvement in transporting, sheltering and employing violators of the kingdom’s residency, border and work regulations, SPA added.

The Saudi Interior Ministry has repeatedly warned that those who facilitate the entry of infiltrators into the kingdom, or provide them with transportation, shelter or any sort of assistance face penalties of a maximum of 15 years in prison, and a fine of up to SR1 million, as well as confiscation of the transport and the accommodation means, in addition to naming to shame them.

The ministry has said collaboration with infiltrators is a major crime warranting arrest and is considered a dishonouring act and a breach of trust.

Saudi Arabia, a country of around 32.2 million people, hosts a large community of expat workers and has recently unveiled measures to regulate and stimulate the local labour market.

Authorities are pursuing a high-profile nationwide campaign, dubbed “A country without a violator” targeting irregular expatriates.