Saudi arrests 180,000 residence, labour law violators

The inspection campaign follows an extended amnesty period



Saudi authorities have arrested more than 180,000 violators of residence, labour and border security laws as part of a crackdown that began in mid November.

The inspection campaign follows an extended amnesty period, which allowed hundreds of thousands of illegal workers to correct their status and leave the country without penalty.

Read: Saudi arrests nearly 37,000 in visa crackdown

Saudi Press Agency reports that 181,060 violators have been detained in total including 101,586 residence law violators, 52,835 labour law violators and 26,639 border law violators.

Around 15,150 foreigners are currently subject to regulatory procedures in expatriate detention centres and penalties have been imposed on 21,711 foreigners.

A further 22,608 have been referred to their diplomatic mission to obtain travel documents and 34,697 have been deported.

The state news agency said 430 people were also arrested for harbouring and transporting violators of residence, labour and border security laws.

There were also 2,073 people arrested while trying to cross the kingdom’s borders, of which 78 per cent were Yemeni, 21 per cent Ethiopian and 1 per cent from other nations.

A further 42 were captured while attempting to leave the kingdom illegally.

Job opportunities have diminished for foreigners in the kingdom over the last two years amid a wider downturn in the economy and a drive from the Ministry of Labour and Social Development to limit some roles to Saudi citizens.

Read: Saudi bans employment of foreigners in gold and jewellery shops

Separately, the kingdom’s Ministry of Labour and Social Development said on Monday it had carried out 727 field inspection visits of recruitment offices so far this year to ensure they were complying with recruitment laws. The inspections found 521 violations of labour laws.