Ethiopia confirms 30-day amnesty extension for illegal migrants in Saudi

Saudi Arabia has agreed to an extension of 30-days for undocumented migrants to leave the country.

Ethiopia, one of the most affected countries, will now look to convince its citizens illegally resident in the Gulf State to return home voluntarily.

The state-affiliated FANA Broadcasting corporate quoted the country’s General Consulate in Jeddah as confirming the extension – the second such after an earlier one was granted last month.

The Consulate disclosed that the new amnesty took effect upon the expiration of the previous one on July 24, 2017.

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Even though figures indicate that there are about 400,000 Ethiopians illegally resident in Saudi, only about 75,000 of them – an estimated 15% – have returned under the amnesty program that started in March this year.

Ethiopia has one of the largest undocumented migrants in Saudi Arabia working as construction and domestic workers.

Local media reports that a number of them have complained of inability to afford tickets to leave the country. The government sent envoys to help facilitate the repatriation via the national airline Ethiopian Airlines.

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Saudi’s action follows a similar campaign launched in 2013 that saw more than 2.5 million undocumented migrants leave the country. The move is part of Saudi’s national campaign to rid the country of the huge number of illegal migrants.

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