Drive against illegals begins

MAKKAH — Police, passport departments and the Ministry of Labor launched a joint campaign against illegal expatriates across the Kingdom on Sunday. Makkah police chief Saeed Al-Qarni said the campaign will look for violators of residency and labor laws.

“The campaign will also target employers employing expatriates who are not under their sponsorship. The penalty for this violation can be imprisonment and fines,” said Al-Qarni.

Asir Passports Department Director Col. Saad Al-Suwaidi said the department is updating its deportation procedures.

“We will not be lenient. Police departments are cooperating with us to facilitate and expedite the process of detaining illegal expatriates, and then finalizing their deportation procedures,” said Al-Suwaidi.

“Penalties for hiring or sheltering an illegal expatriate are severe and is considered a crime which jeopardizes the safety of society,” he said.

Madinah Passports Department acting head Gen. Brig. Saud Al-Saeed urged all citizens to report to the ministry any illegal expatriate.

“The ministry encourages the involvement of residents in this campaign,” he said.

In 2013, the government started a nationwide crackdown on undocumented foreign laborers in an effort to overhaul the labor market. Thousands of illegal workers rectified their status during a seven-month grace period given to them two years ago.

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