'Grace period' for illegal workers facing deportation in Saudi
Saudi Arabia’s King on Saturday ordered a three-month grace period for foreigners staying illegally in the country to regularise their residential status.
“The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud has directed the Ministry of Interior and the Ministry of Labour that labourers violating regulations in the Kingdom be given a grace period of three months to regularise their status,” a statement carried by the official news agency said. “The law will be enforced against violators at the end of the grace period,” the statement said.
Authorities in Saudi Arabia have launched a massive campaign to deport thousands of foreigners who overstayed their residence permits or worked illegally or did not have the legal documents to work or stay in the country.
The nation-wide campaign is attributed to ambitious labour market reforms, employment of Saudi nationals and boosting security levels, particularly in the south where thousands of infiltrators have been attempting to enter the kingdom, lured by lucrative opportunities.
Online reactions to the announcement of the grace period were not supportive amid claims that most of the foreigners staying illegally in the kingdom would not attempt to regularise their status.