Hundreds of thousands stay in Saudi Arabia as deadline for amnesty expires

ESAT News (July 20, 2017)

Hundreds of thousands of Ethiopians are still in Saudi Arabia despite the deadline for the Kingdom’s amnesty for undocumented workers expires in four days.

The Ethiopian regime says about 60,000 nationals have so far returned home and 130,000 have been issued with exit visas. The government says transportation issues have been resolved but it did not say how 130,000 people could be transported in four days.

Saudi authorities say those who fail to leave the Kingdom before July 25, 2017 will face a penalty of 26,653 dollars.

570,000 of the about a million undocumented workers have so far left the Kingdom in line with the amnesty. 12,000 of them have returned to the Kingdom legally, according to Saudi media reports.

In March, Saudi declared a 90 day amnesty for all undocumented workers to leave the Kingdom and return legally. The amnesty was extended by one month upon Ethiopia’s request and will expire on July 25, 2017.

The Ethiopian government says about 400,000 nationals live in the Kingdom, but other sources say the number could be as high as 700,000. A considerable number of them are undocumented.