No home raids in Saudi Arabia to check illegal foreigners
Inspectors will not check private homes to look for foreigners staying illegally in Saudi Arabia, the labour ministry has said.
According to an official statement, only companies and establishments registered for commercial activities will be inspected in the campaigns to be launched by the ministry following the expiry on Sunday of the grace period given to illegal foreigners to regularise their status in the Saudi kingdom.
The ministry warned Saudis and residents not to allow imposters pretending to conduct a search on behalf of the labour authorities into their homes.
“The labour ministry will deal solely with the inspections to ensure full compliance with the employment rules and regulations while the interior ministry will check compliance with residence rules,” the statement said, quoted by local Arabic dailyOkaz.
Saudi Arabia has given all foreigners until November 3 to make sure they have the proper documents to work or stay in the country.
Several foreigners who have overstayed their residence permits or who had been sneaked into the kingdom have been affected by the decision.
Reports in the capital Riyadh said that almost one million foreigners have opted to use the grace period to leave the country instead of facing legal problems, while thousands have been waiting for an opportunity to regularise their stay. Some embassies representing large labour exporting have called for a new extension of the grace period to be able to accommodate a higher number of people attempting to fix their situation, but the authorities have insisted there would be no change to the deadline and warned they would apply a zero-tolerance policy towards violations.
“We have prepared a professional model for the inspections and there will be no room for interpretations by the inspectors,” the ministry said.
Saudi Arabia is home to nine million foreigners, mainly Asians in the construction and service sectors, who represent around one-third of the total population.