S. Arabia deports 50,000 undocumented workers

Pakistan and Philippines send delegations

27 November, 18:13

    Saudi authorities clampdown on illegal foreign workers Saudi authorities clampdown on illegal foreign workers

    (ANSAmed) - DUBAI - Saudi Arabia continues its crackdown on undocumented migrants to the country.
    At least 50,000 Ethiopians have been repatriated after the Riyadh government brought in measures for the 'Saudization' of the country's workforce. This figure is much higher than the 15,000 expected by Ethiopian authorities and probably much lower than the total number affected - possibly as many of 80,000 workers, according to the Ethiopian Minister of Foreign Affairs.
    The overall program may instead involve about two million people. The Ethiopian community clashed with police on November 9 in Manfouah, an area south of the Saudi capital after a decision a few days prior to conduct inspections and deport foreign workers in non-compliance with Saudi regulations. Three people lost their lives in the clashes, including a Saudi man, while 69 were injured and dozens of cars were set alight. A sweep-up operation was conducted throughout the country in workplaces ranging from shops to construction sites, leading to the arrest of almost 20,000 undocumented workers that were subsequently separated according to nationality in an ad hoc repatriation center set up in Riyadh. The Saudi government had announced an amnesty for undocumented migrants in April and over a million workers - mainly from Yemen, Bangladesh, the Philippines, India and Pakistan - had already handed themselves in. The repatriation process is ongoing. A parliamentary delegation from Islamabad arrived in Saudi Arabia a few days ago to deal with the issue.
    The visit ended with pledges from Saudi authorities to carefully assess the cases of Pakistani nationals, reports Pakistan's Tribune. The newspaper underscored that there are 1.6 million Pakistani immigrants to Saudi Arabia and that they generate 30% of overall remittances totaling 4.1 billion dollars. The mass expulsion of workers would therefore be expected lead to enormous economic damage to the country. The Philippines government, which estimates that about 660,000 of its citizens are working in Saudi Arabia, sent a delegation in early November to ensure respect for the human rights of its nationals, who had complained of abuse beginning with the very first expulsions. (ANSAmed).

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