Almost a million migrant workers leave in Saudi amnesty
Nearly a million foreigners have left Saudi Arabia under a one-off amnesty granted to migrant workers to get their visas in order or leave without penalty, media reports said Wednesday.
Passport department spokesman Ahmed al-Lahidan told Al-Madinah newspaper that 951,272 migrants had already left the kingdom since April. He warned of legal action against anyone found to be in breach of employment laws after the amnesty period expires on November 3, dpa reported.
Authorities extended the original cut-off date for amnesty from July. The amnesty comes as authorities implement a plans to increase the number of jobs for locals.
Foreigners made up more than 9 million of Saudi Arabia's population of 29 million, the last census in 2010 showed.
The kingdom has come under fire over its restrictions on foreign workers who are tied to one employer under a sponsorship system, which rights groups say makes them vulnerable to exploitation.