EP crackdown on illegals nets 70,000

Security officers raid makeshift homes in the Riyadh region to arrest illegal workers.

Security officers raid makeshift homes in the Riyadh region to arrest illegal workers.

Saudi Arabia has intensified its campaign against residency and labor law violators, with security forces and Labor Ministry officials having launched joint raids to arrest illegals.

Col. Ziyad Al-Raqeeti, Eastern Province police spokesman, said more than 70,000 illegals have been arrested during the past eight months. “We caught 9,183 violators last month alone,” he said, adding that violators have been handed over to authorities.

“Police have caught 70,357 illegals since the beginning of the current Hijrah year,” said Al-Raqeeti. “Security officers will continue the campaign in association with other agencies to drive out all illegal foreigners,” he said, while urging Saudis and expats not to shelter or employ any illegals.

Ibrahim Badawood, managing director of ALJ Community Initiatives, told Arab News that the campaign was aimed at cleaning out the country’s labor market. However, he urged authorities to give companies more time to legalize their qualified and experienced workers.

“We should think positive. Instead of arresting and deporting violators of iqama and labor rules, we should enlighten companies and employers as how they can legalize the status of their workers,” Badawood said.

Authorities in the Riyadh region have arrested 6,575 illegals during the past month, while security agencies in the Asir region have nabbed 3,923.

Col. Fawaz Al-Maiman, Riyadh police spokesman, said the governor has instructed the continuation of the campaign during Ramadan.

The Labor Ministry has advised private companies to set up separate sections for women as part of its efforts to improve the work atmosphere for women. The proposal has been presented on its website for discussion. The ministry has also clarified that employment of women does not require any permission from the ministry or any other departments.

In a related development, Muhammad Ameen Mirdad, a member of the Supreme Judiciary Council, said the new labor courts would start functioning in the beginning of the next Hijrah year (Oct. 25, 2014).

Mirdad said the Justice Ministry has trained the required number of judges to manage labor courts. A labor court will have a judge and two consultants.

He said the commercial courts would begin functioning on Dec. 23, adding that they would look into cases of trade disputes and violation of trade regulations, such as fraud and price hikes.






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