Omani police have recently arrested another 106 illegal immigrants, mostly from neighboring countries, the Oman Times reported Wednesday, July 18. The police said the immigrants were caught in different areas of Oman over the past weeks after tip-offs from local people.
Those arrested included 54 Pakistanis, 22 Afghans, 19 Iranians, nine Somalis and two Yemenis, the police said, urging citizens to continue to report any other illegal immigrants.
Almost 12,000 illegal expatriate workers have so far taken advantage of an amnesty for overstayers, labor ministry official Saif Bin Mohammad Al-Busaidi said Monday.
The amnesty, which expires on July 20, allows illegal residents not facing any criminal charge to leave Oman after paying a $125 fine at the labor ministry, rather than the normal penalty of $25 a day for overstayers in Oman.
Many of them are without their passports, which are retained by Omani employers, after having run away from their original jobs.
The latest amnesty comes amid a government campaign to employ Omanis and cut reliance on imported labor. A target date of 2003 has been set to have all government posts filled by Omanis.
According to official figures, a quarter of the sultanate's population of two million, are foreigners. ― (AFP, Muscat)
© Agence France Presse 2001
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )