By Arab News
By Mohammed Al-Kinani
Some 7,500 violators of residency and labor laws have been arrested on the first day after the grace period ended.
According to the Interior Ministry’s spokesman, Maj. Gen. Mansour Al-Turki, the campaign not only targeted those who had no residence permits but also those whose residency documents had expired.
“The concerned authorities started chasing the violators of residency and labor laws on Thursday, Al-Turki said. “It also focused on Saudis who hire illegal residents.” Al-Turki said that the grace period had lasted for eight months, and was extended more than once after some embassies called for extra time for their nationals to correct their situations based on certain agreements and conditions.
Al-Turki said that the ministry did not look at violators as criminals but asked them to get exit visas immediately and leave the country as soon as possible.
The ministry had worked with different authorities to make the campaign a success. “We are ready and we will not stop until we make sure that our goal has been achieved,” the spokesman said.
He added that the law did not make a distinction between Saudis and expats. “The campaign targets violators of labor and residency laws whether they are Saudis or foreigners. All Saudis and legal residents are required to abide by the country’s labor and residency regulations and rules,” he said.
Lt. Col. Talal Al-Shalhoub, spokesman for the General Directorate of Passports, said that his departments were working around the clock to enforce the campaign.
Col. Sami Al-Shuwairikh, representing Public Security, said that some 7,500 violators had been caught.
He said that Saudi nationals and legal residents have been asked to report violators by calling 911 in the Makkah region and 999 in other parts of the Kingdom.
Khalid Aba Al-Khail, spokesman for the Ministry of Labor and Social Development, said the campaign was a national task that would have many positive effects for the country.
“We have some 800 inspectors whose job is to scrutinize markets and make sure that all workers are officially permitted.” Labor law violators were being taken into custody every day, he said.
Border Guards spokesman Col. Sahir Al-Harbi said they had foiled more than 21,000 attempts to illegally enter the Kingdom. He said that 872 residency violators had tried to leave the country illegally.