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Mon 7 Jan 2019 10:11 AM

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Saudi officials arrest, penalise 2.3m visa violators since November

More than three quarters were arrested for residency violations

Saudi officials arrest, penalise 2.3m visa violators since November
2,376,215 have been arrested with 77 percent committed violations against residency regulations. Over 364,000 of the arrested had committed labour law violations with the remaining abusing border restrictions.

Saudi officials have arrested more than 2 million visa violators in a year-long campaign across the country, according to an official report cited by Arab News.

According to the report, 2,376,215 have been arrested with 77 percent committed violations against residency regulations. Over 364,000 of the arrested had committed labour law violations with the remaining abusing border restrictions.

Saudi officials have deported 609,632 of the arrested, while 746,305 have been transferred either to their diplomatic missions to obtain travel documents or to complete travel reservations.

The crackdown has been running from November 2017, and came after a prolonged amnesty for violators that had been announced earlier in March.

The campaign comes as a number of legal foreign workers leave Saudi Arabia after the imposition of VAT, dependents fees and hiked fuel and utility fees.

Foreign workers, who filled 90% of private sector positions in the country, have seen their numbers fall by a million from early 2017 to 9.89 million, according to Reuters.

Saudi Arabia has also imposed rules to limit jobs in 12 customer facing sectors to nationals.

The rules, which came in to force in September, will attempt to curb unemployment within the country which until the second quarter of 2018 had hit a record high of 12.9%.

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