Expats in last-minute rush as amnesty ends today

newsimageJeddah — Thousands of undocumented expatriate workers intensified their efforts to benefit from an amnesty which is coming to an end on Monday. Expatriate affairs departments at deportation centers across the Kingdom from Arar in north to Asir in south witnessed huge crowds on Sunday. The Shumaisy deportation center on Harmain express road in Makkah, the largest facility in the Kingdom, also witnessed a huge rush of expatriates from various countries. A total of 7,421 Indonesians left Saudi Arabia by registering at the Indonesian consulate in Jeddah, said a source. This number is three times less than the number registered during the amnesty in 2013. Umar Badarsyah, vice consul for information, social and cultural affairs at the Indonesian consulate, told Saudi Gazette that many undocumented workers were expecting another extension of amnesty considering the advent of Haj. Many of these expats decided to stay during Haj to make some fast bucks before returning home. Badarsyah said the Indonesian consulate general relentlessly tried to convince them to use this opportunity to return home yet the number of those who registered did not increase. Some Indonesians did not benefit from the amnesty because they were reported to the police, others had problem in their data entry in the system. Indonesian diplomatic missions issued over 13,000 travel documents in Jeddah and Riyadh to their nationals, according to officials at Indonesian embassy in Riyadh. Yemen consulate in Jeddah is processing the exit papers of 300 Yemenis daily through border check post via Shahrouh in Najran province. Yet several Yemenis are on waiting list to complete exit procedures at Shumaisi deportation center, according to Yemeni diplomatic sources. Nearly 60,000 Ethiopian nationals from Jeddah region alone applied for exit visas. “We are confused due to the lack of information,” admitted Ethiopian Consul General Wubishet Dimise. Sudan also intensified efforts to facilitate paperwork of its works. More than 46,000 Sudanese expatriates — 32,000 from Riyadh and 14,000 from Jeddah — are returning home, many of them came to the Kingdom as shepherds and agriculture farm workers. Over 75,000 Pakistanis have applied for travel documents in Riyadh and Jeddah, according to Pakistani diplomatic sources. Over 50,000 Bangladeshis intend to return home, according to Bangladesh diplomatic sources. Some 45,000 were able to complete their exit procedures across the Kingdom. A total of 20,000 have already left the Kingdom. Nearly 31,000 Indians came forward to return home under the amnesty. Many of them have left the Kingdom, but officials have no idea how many still remain as the information has to be shared by Saudi officials.