The Ministries of Interior and Labor have urged illegal expatriate workers to legalize their residency and labor status during the current amnesty period, which ends on Nov. 3, to avoid punitive action.
“You have to take speedy steps to legalize the status of workers by approaching government agencies in compliance with rules and regulations,” the two ministries said in a joint statement issued on Tuesday.
“Punishment will be imposed on violators, including expats and their employers, in accordance with the law,” the ministries warned. “We will not show any leniency for violators,” they added.
Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah extended the first three-month amnesty period in response to proposals made by the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Labor and Interior, as the period was not enough to rectify the status of millions of workers.
The royal decree extending the amnesty also cited requests made by various foreign embassies that had complained of the “pressure on their missions” from the large numbers of workers seeking to correct their status.
The decree had also warned of a crackdown on illegal workers after the amnesty ends. Hundreds of thousands of undocumented expatriate workers, including overstaying pilgrims and runaway workers who escaped from their employers, have rectified their status since the government announced the three-month grace period.
Countries with large numbers of undocumented workers include India, Pakistan, the Philippines, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Egypt, Nepal and Yemen.