20 000 foreign workers detained in Mecca

2013-11-13 15:57
Foreign illegal labourers arrive at the Saudi immigration offices at al-Isha quarter in al-Khazan district west of Riyadh. (Picture: AFP)

Foreign illegal labourers arrive at the Saudi immigration offices at al-Isha quarter in al-Khazan district west of Riyadh. (Picture: AFP)

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Riyadh - Saudi authorities have detained more than 20 000 foreign migrant workers in the holy city of Mecca since a nationwide clampdown started, pan-Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat reported Wednesday.

Saudi authorities began their sweep last week after the end of a seven-month amnesty for foreign migrants, whose work permits had expired or who were not working for their official sponsors.

"The number of those detained... since the start of the corrective security campaign in Mecca has reached 11 962 male and 8 927 female offenders, mostly of Ethiopian, Egyptian, Yemeni and Indonesia nationality," police spokesperson Badr Al Saud told the newspaper.

In addition to the detainments, thousands of other migrants have been expelled from the kingdom after they failed to legalise their status during the amnesty, local media reported.

Foreigners made up more than 9 million of Saudi Arabia's population of 29 million, the last census in 2010 showed.

Local media have reported widespread closure of shops and restaurants as migrant workers stayed home for fear of being caught in the round-up.

Read more on:    saudi arabia

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