Saudi Arabia Deports 2,540 Illegal Immigrants To Ethiopia, More Expected

By Kevin Mwanza Published: November 19, 2013, 3:37 am

The Ethiopian Government said it received some 2,540 of its citizens from Saudi Arabia, recently declared illegal immigrants by the authorities middle eastern oil rich Kingdom, the Premium Time reported.

Many foreign workers in Saudi Arabia are fleeing or are under arrest amid a crackdown on the kingdom’s 9 million migrant laborers. Saudi residents fought with Ethiopians, and video emerged of a crowd dragging an Ethiopian from his house and beating him.

According to the newly established national task force for the return and support of refugees, the returnees are being reunited with their families.

An official of the task force said that about 235 women arrived in Ethiopia on Sunday night.

The Ethiopian government dispatched a high-level delegation last week to arrange for the immediate return of some 40,000 nationals facing deportation by the Saudi authorities for lack of resident permit and other relevant papers.

The Foreign Affairs Ministry temporarily banned Ethiopians from travelling to work in foreign countries without informing the relevant authorities.

The Saudi security agents had earlier this month launched a crackdown on foreign nationals, who had no official permit to stay in the country after the expiration of the deadline given to them to regularize their residential permits.

Saudi authorities said booting out migrant workers will open more jobs for its citizens, at a time when unemployment among Saudis is running at 12.1 percent as of the end of last year, according to the International Monetary Fund.

Three Ethiopian nationals were allegedly killed during an encounter between the security agencies and the Ethiopians who had staged a protest against their planned deportation, according to the Foreign Ministry’s spokesman, Dino Mufti.

Meanwhile, the Ethiopian Police had on November 15 arrested more than 100 people protesting outside the Saudi Arabian Embassy in Addis Ababa over what they described as ”harsh treatment of Ethiopians” in the Gulf Kingdom.

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