8,500 labor law violators rounded up in Makkah


The Interior and Labor ministries have stepped up their campaign to drive out residency and labor rule violators across the Kingdom after arresting nearly 8,500 foreigners in the Makkah region over the past two months.

“Security agencies are determined to put an end to illegal residency and adverse practices, such as begging, street-vending and car-washing,” said Lt. Raed bin Mohammed Al-Suhfi, acting police spokesman in the region.

The new arrests came as security authorities weigh options to issue tickets to both illegal workers and their employers instead of arresting them, sabq.org reported.

Senior government officials spearheading the campaign are expected to meet Monday to discuss the proposal, which comes following reports that the Passport Department’s detention centers have been filled with illegals.

Al-Suhfi said the majority of the violators, of different nationalities, were arrested in Makkah, Jeddah and Taif.

“We have handed them to the concerned department to take necessary action,” he added.

Police in the Eastern Province, meanwhile, said they held 639 illegal foreign workers in Al-Ahsa.

“The arrests took place during raids carried out by Al-Ahsa police last week,” a security source said.

The Labor Ministry says it requires nearly SR15 billion annually to fight unemployment.

“We have presented a proposal in this respect to higher authorities and is being studied by a committee of experts,” the ministry said.

Deputy Labor Minister Mufrej Al-Haqabani said the Nitaqat nationalization program helped in increasing employment of Saudis in the private sector by 15.15 percent.

There are now 1.5 million citizens in the sector.

Employment of Saudi women, meanwhile, increased by 723 percent, from 48,400 to nearly 400,000.

The campaign against illegals is aimed at cleansing the Kingdom’s labor market and creating more jobs for Saudi nationals.


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