Illegal Workers In Saudi Face Blacklisting
By Indika Sri Aravinda
Sri Lankan workers, who continue to work in Saudi Arabia illegally after the amnesty period ends, face being blacklisted.
The Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment (SLBFE) said that there were 16,000 illegal Sri Lankan workers in the Middle Eastern country, of which 10,000 have returned.
Deputy General Manager of the SLBFE Mangala Randeniya said that the Saudi government had granted an amnesty to those working in the country illegally till 3rd November.
Randeniya said that if anyone fails to make use of the amnesty then they face arrest and blacklisting.
The Saudi Ministry of Interior and Labour has urged illegal expatriate workers to legalize their residency and labour status during the current amnesty period, which ends on November 3, to avoid punitive action. The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah extended the first three-month amnesty period in response to proposals made by the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Labour and Interior, as the period was not enough to rectify the status of millions of workers.
The royal decree extending the amnesty period also cited requests made by various foreign embassies which had complained of the “pressure on their missions” from the large numbers of workers seeking to correct their status. The decree had also warned of a crackdown on illegal workers after the amnesty period ends. Hundreds of thousands of undocumented expatriate workers, including overstaying pilgrims and runaway workers who had escaped from their employers have rectified their status since the government announced the three-month grace period.