Cairo: Some 16,471 illegal expatriates have been rounded up across Saudi Arabia in one week for violating the kingdom’s residency, labour and border security laws as part of a relentless clampdown, the Interior Ministry has said.
The arrests, made over the period of March 9-15, included 9,025 violators of the kingdom’s residency system, 5,105 violators of the border security rules and 2,341 others who breached the labour regulations, the ministry added.
A total of 17,270 illegals, including 3,020 women, are currently being subjected to deportation measures, according to figures from the ministry.
Some 7,756 others have been referred to their respective diplomatic missions to obtain travel documents ahead of deportation while 12,958 other illegals have been deported from the kingdom.
Authorities also arrested during the same period 14 people involved in transporting, sheltering and employing violators of the kingdom’s residency, border and work regulations.
The Saudi Interior Ministry has repeatedly warned that those who facilitate the entry of infiltrators into the country 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.
Saudi Arabia, a country of around 34.8 million people, hosts a large community of migrant workers.
Saudi media has regularly reported arresting tens of thousands of illegal expatriates by security authorities in the ongoing crackdown on violators of the kingdom’s laws.
Last week, authorities said they had arrested more than 17,000 such illegals in one week.