Over 1.7 million arrested for visa violations as Saudi continues crackdown

The kingdom has been detaining people for residential, labour and border security regulations since November 2017

The ongoing crackdown on illegal workers and residents in Saudi Arabia has led to the arrest of more than 1.73 million people as of September 13, officials announced.

The kingdom has been detaining people for residential, labour and border security regulations since November 2017.

The latest update indicates that more than 100,000 people have been arrested since August 23.

Also read: Saudi crackdown on illegal workers, residents nets 1.62 million

Among those arrested, over 1.32 million violated residency regulations, 276,713 were caught for flouting labour laws, and 130,933 were detained for border security regulations, the official Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported.

Officials also arrested 29,442 for illegally attempting to cross Saudi’s borders including nationals from Yemen (55 per cent), Ethiopia (42 per cent), and other countries (3 per cent).

The total number of people arrested for their involvement in the transfer, accommodation and concealment of those who violated the law stood at 2,645. That includes 658 citizens – 627 of whom have now been released. Authorities are implementing legal proceeding against the remaining 31 detainees.

Of the illegal residents, workers and border security violators, 437,396 have been deported to their respective home countries and 300,412 were transferred to complete their travel reservations.

Immediate sanctions were imposed against 287,506 violators, with 24,429 referred to their respective diplomatic missions for travel documents.

The number of expatriates who are still detained stands at 14,697, including 12,490 men and 2,207 women.

Saudi’s crackdown is taking place amid a wider exodus of legal foreign workers, who are facing a higher cost of living following the implementation of a value added tax, increased fuel and electricity prices and a dependents fee.

According to Saudi’s General Authority for Statistics a total of 700,200 expatriates left the labour market in the 15 months up to July 2018.

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