Saudi Arabia’s Amnesty Expires; 340,000 Undocumented Ethiopians Still Remain
July 25, 2017 – As Saudi Arabia’s amnesty program for undocumented workers expires today, illegal works are being arrested, reports Africa news. The Ethiopian government helped facilitate exit visas for thousand of its nationals who were illegally residing in Saudi, most of whom went to work as laborers.
Figures indicate that there are about 400,000 such illegal residents but so far only about 60,000 of them have taken the amnesty program to return. The process till this stage has involved the issuing of the initial 90-day amnesty – during which time authorities in Addis Ababa expressed worry over the slow rate of return.
On June 28, 2017, the Ethiopian government requested for an extension of the amnesty of the over 400,000 nationals expected back home; the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said only 45,000 had returned home. At a point there was a huge return then an extension of 30-days was granted. However, the total number of Ethiopians who have used the extension of the amnesty do not exceed 60, 000, according to government source.
Ethiopians who failed to return home will be forced back. They could also face detention and fines according to Saudi law.
Ethiopia has one of the largest undocumented migrants in Saudi Arabia working as construction and domestic workers. Local media reported that a number of them have complained of inability to afford tickets to leave the country. The government sent envoys to help facilitate the repatriation via the national airline Ethiopian Airlines.
This follows a similar campaign launched in 2013 that saw more than 2.5 million undocumented migrants leave the country. The move is part of Saudi’s national campaign to rid the country of the huge number of illegal migrants.
Source: – Africa News