RIYADH - Saudi authorities have arrested more than 2.5 million foreigners who were living in the Kingdom in violation of the country’s residency and labor regulations in a joint security campaign that began all over the Kingdom on Nov. 15, 2017.
The joint campaign, titled the Nation Free of Illegal Expats, was launched with the participation of 19 government and private sector agencies, including the Ministry of Labor and Social Development and the Passport Department.
According to officials, 2,544,626 illegal expatriates were arrested by Jan. 31, since the beginning of the campaign. They included 1,981,604 people arrested for violating the system of residency, 389,106 for violating the labor regulations and 173,916 for breaching border security.
The officials said 42,052 people were apprehended while attempting to sneak into the Kingdom through its southern border. About 51 percent of the infiltrators were Yemenis, 46 percent Ethiopians and the rest belonged to various other nationalities.
As many as 1,870 foreign residents were caught while attempting to leave the Kingdom illegally.
The officials said 3,322 people were arrested for harboring illegal residents by providing them with transportation or shelter. They included 1,036 Saudi nationals, of whom 1,004 have been investigated, punished and released while 32 others are still being questioned.
The campaign officials said 11,206 foreigners were currently being held in various deportation centers. They consist of 9,968 men and 1,238 women.
Penalties have been imposed on the spot against 391,035 detained illegals while 349,251 detainees were referred to their respective embassies and consulates to issue them travel documents, the officials said. They said 646,878 detained people were already deported from the country and 435,993 others were finalizing the travel formalities ahead of their deportation.