Saudi Government Data Reveals Large-Scale Crackdown on Illegal Workers, Residents

A crackdown that began in November 2017 on illegal labor in Saudi Arabia has resulted in the deportation of 750,504 expatriates to their respective countries, according to official data.

The kingdom has been detaining people for residential, labour and border security regulations since November 2017 with 19 government departments participating in the campaign. Saudi Arabia is looking to boost participation and employment of Saudi citizens in the workforce, directing the country off reliance on inexpensive foreign labor.

Nearly 3 million arrests have been made, including over 2.3 million for breaking residency regulations, 458,591 for labor law violations, and 200,695 for border violations.

50,388 people were apprehended while attempting to illegally enter the kingdom’s borders, nearly all were Yemenis or Ethiopians.

Research by the General Statistics Authority (GASTA) found that the number of employed expatriates fell from over 9.8 million in the second quarter to over 9.5 million in Q3. That’s down from 10.18 million in the first quarter.