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Tue 10 Mar 2015 12:11 PM

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Saudi Arabia arrests 1,000 on first day of new expat crackdown

Accused of overstaying their visas or working illegal, they face fines of $26,000, 2 yrs in jail & deportation

Saudi Arabia arrests 1,000 on first day of new expat crackdown
Image for illustrative pupose only. (Getty Images)

More than 1,000 alleged illegal expats were arrested in Saudi Arabia on Monday during the first day of a new campaign, according to the official Saudi Press Agency.

The 1,066 arrested face fines of up to SAR100,000 ($26,700), two years in jail and deportation, SPA said.

Authorities are targeting both foreigners who overstay their visa or are working with the incorrect documents and those who employ or harbour them.

Employers also face tough penalties including a ban on hiring expats.

More than 1 million foreigners left Saudi Arabia during a seven-month amnesty in 2013, placing some strain on local businesses as well as labour source countries that not only lost significant remittances but also were forced to take back swathes of unemployed people into their already poor communities.

About one-third of the kingdom’s 27 million people are expats.

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