The Government of Saudi Arabia has extended its Amnesty Programme by a month for undocumented migrants to leave as the first extension ended on July 24. This was made this known on Wednesday by the Ethiopian consulate in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
The first extension of one month was between June 24 and July 24.
Saudi Arabia announced in March 2017, a three month amnesty programme for undocumented foreign migrants to voluntarily leave the country before the amnesty’s expiration on June 24.
However, Saudi Arabia gave a one-month extension which ended July 24 to provide more time to undocumented foreign migrants to voluntarily return to their home countries.
Ethiopia has one of the highest numbers of undocumented migrants in Saudi Arabia with the government undertaking vigorous campaign to return undocumented Ethiopian migrants back home.
So far about 70,000 undocumented Ethiopians living in Saudi Arabia have returned home with another 60,000 undocumented Ethiopians having registered at Ethiopian diplomatic missions in Saudi Arabia to return.
There are no exact figures on the number of Ethiopians illegally living in Saudi Arabia but some estimates put the number close to 400,000, taking up jobs ranging from maids to working in construction sites.
With a growing population currently at around 30 million and a squeeze in international oil price, Saudi Arabia is on a drive to indigenise its workforce currently dominated by millions of illegal and legal migrants.
The approaching deadline recalled painful memories of Ethiopians in the last deportation debacle in November 2013, when a deportation round by Saudi authorities on illegal migrants left many Ethiopians in Saudi detention camps and returned home penniless.
The Ethiopian government has already dispatched a dozen diplomats in its embassy in Riyadh and consular offices in other Saudi cities to give consular advice to stranded Ethiopians.
With an eye to curbing illegal migration, the Ethiopian government in May signed an agreement with the Saudi Arabia Government for an overseas employment agreement to help future legal Ethiopian migrants. (Xinhua/NAN)