Expats without legal documents who have been stranded in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for years recently got a golden opportunity to end their ordeal as amnesty announced by the authorities would allow them to leave without being penalized.
On behalf of Bangladesh, ambassador Golam Moshi welcomed the Saudi government’s gesture.
Although there is no dependable statistics of undocumented Bangladeshi workers in the KSA, the amnesty would let them leave the country, said Bangladesh embassy officials in Riyadh.
The 90-day amnesty period begins on March 29, reported Riyadh daily Saudi Gazette on Monday.
Saudi crown prince Muhammad Bin Naif announced the amnesty while inaugurating a campaign ‘Nation Free of Violators,’ in Riyadh, says a Saudi Press Agency report.
Approximately 17 lakh Bangladeshis are currently working in the KSA, ambassador Moshi said replying to a question.
The amnesty would allow any illegal foreign worker to leave the KSA without paying fines or getting jailed, he said.
If undocumented foreign workers return home availing the amnesty, they would be able to come to work in the KSA again, he said.
Alongside Saudi authorities, the Bangladesh mission also launched campaigns at remote areas of Saudi Arabia to make Bangladeshi workers aware about the amnesty, he added.
Officials told New Age that many Bangladeshi workers became undocumented in the KSA long ago after arriving there on visit or Umrah visas and failed to get their visas extended.
Besides, they said, many others became undocumented after changing their workplace.
According to the Bureau of Manpower Employment and Training, the KSA began hiring workers from Bangladesh in 1976.
Over 28 lakh Bangladeshi workers got jobs in the KSA until now, show BMET records.
Security spokesman at the Saudi interior ministry Mansour Al-Turki said if iqama (residency) and labor regulations violators voluntarily leave the KSA they would be exempted from getting penalized or paying fines.
Moreover, he said, they would get the opportunity to legally return to the KSA to work again.
The SPA also reported quoting the interior ministry spokesman that the fingerprints of these people would not be taken as it is done for the deported undocumented workers, who never get the opportunity to work in the KSA again.
Want stories like this in your inbox?
Sign up to exclusive daily email
More Stories from Country