Saudi amnesty expires as hundreds of thousands of Ethiopians remain in Kingdom

Photo: BBC

ESAT News (July 24, 2017)

Hundreds of thousands of Ethiopians in Saudi Arabia face monetary fines, imprisonment and forced deportation as the Kingdom’s amnesty for undocumented workers expires on Tuesday.

The office of the Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs says about 70,000 nationals have so far returned home and 130,000 have been issued with exit visas.

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

About 570,000 of the one 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.