Enforcing more stringent measures on foreigners’ visas, Saudi authorities have arrested around 24,000 expatriates who have violated their residency (iqama) and labour regulations, reports the Saudi Gazette.
According to Gulf Business, the joint campaign to pursue and arrest these violators began on Wednesday, after the kingdom ended an extended amnesty period for violators of residency, labour and border security laws to correct their status and leave the country without any penalty.
Among the arrestees, 15,702 people were violators of residency regulation, 3,883 were violators of the border security regulation, while 4,353 had violated the labour regulations.
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A total of 25 Saudi nationals were also detained for allegedly transporting or sheltering expatriates, who have violated the visa conditions.
According to Gulf Business, 42% of violators were picked up from Mecca, 20% from the capital of Riyadh, 11% from Asir province, 6% from Jazan, and 5% from Eastern provinces.
Meanwhile, the kingdom’s General Directorate of Passports said that residents would be able to remain in the country for up to 60 days after receiving their final exit visa, despite their residency permit expires, reports Gulf Business.
The Council of Saudi Chambers, earlier this month, has put forth a proposal recommending expats, who leave the country on exit visas, are banned from returning for work for two years.
This proposal comes as a drive to limit some roles to Saudi citizens and as a consequence to economic pressures, as many expatriates seek for job opportunity in the kingdom.