Saudi arrests nearly 37,000 in visa crackdown

The kingdom ended an extended amnesty for illegal workers and residents last Wednesday



Saudi Arabia has arrested 36,656 people in less than week under a crackdown on illegal residents and workers.

The campaign began last Wednesday at the end of an extended amnesty period allowing those that were illegally staying or working in the kingdom to correct their status and leave the country without penalty.

Read: Saudi to begin crackdown on visa violators

The new figure, reported by Saudi Press Agency, indicates almost 13,000 arrests were made since a previous update on Saturday.

Read: Saudi arrests 24,000 in opening days of visa crackdown

Authorities said they had detained 22,085 in violation of residency laws, 6,874 in violation of border security laws and 7,697 in violation of labour laws.

A total of 574 people were also arrested while trying to cross the border into the kingdom, of which 77 per cent were Yemeni and 21 per cent Ethiopians.

The kingdom said it was undertaking procedures against 9,349 expats and 27 citizens for illegally harbouring violators of the law.

The crackdown has so far seen 4,457 people deported, 3,223 subject to immediate sanctions and 2,750 transferred to diplomatic missions to obtain travel documents.

Another 2,891 were transferred after the completion of their travel papers.

Job opportunities have recently diminished for foreigners in the kingdom 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: Only Saudi women can now work in female clothes, accessory stores in kingdom