Over 345,000 illegal expats leave Saudi under amnesty program

TO GO WITH AFP STORY BY ASSAD ABOUD Foreign illegal laborers wait in a long queue outside the Saudi immigration offices at the Al-Isha quarter of the Al-Khazan district, west of Riyadh, on May 28, 2013. Saudi authorities imposed new regulations on foreign workers to limit irregularities and launched a deporting campaign of hundreds of thousands illegal foreign workers, to try to reduce unemployment rates among its own citizens, as more than 8 million foreigners have residency in the booming kingdom's economy. AFP PHOTO/FAYEZ NURELDINE (Photo credit should read FAYEZ NURELDINE/AFP/Getty Images)

The number of illegal expatriates taking advantage of the Kingdom’s amnesty campaign reached 345,089 in the last two months, said Maj. Gen. Daifallah bin Sattam Al-Huwaifi, deputy director general of the Passport Department, the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported recently.

The Interior Ministry launched a 90-day amnesty campaign beginning March 29 that asked labor and residence violators to leave the Kingdom without penalties. The campaign also aims to help illegal residents leave the country on their own and remain exempt from the “deportee” fingerprint system.

Al-Huwaifi asked illegal residents and workers to take advantage of the remaining days before the amnesty deadline, which ends June 29. Exemptions for undocumented residents and workers leaving voluntarily include imprisonment, fees, and fines, which are normally applied to violators of residence, employment and border security regulations.

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