According to Saudi government officials, 1 million or more migrant workers will leave Saudi Arabia under an amnesty campaign that is currently taking place.
The campaign, which is three months long, allows those that have overstayed in the country with correct visas or documents to leave without facing penalties or fines for violating visa rules.
Those that exit under the amnesty campaign become exempt from the requirement of an exit fingerprint and can return to Saudi Arabia legally at a later date.
To apply for amnesty, workers need to go on the website of the Ministry of Interior and set up an appointment using their date of birth and residence ID.
The Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Naif has urged the violators to use this opportunity to their advantage during the grace period the government has given them and for all to cooperate so the goals of the campaign can be achieved.
He instructed the parties involved to facilitate the violators’ departures during the campaign and exempt them from all penalties.
The campaign started March 29 and the first results to come in show it to be positive said a local newspaper that quoted government officials from the Ministry of Labor and the Directorate of Passports.
In the first week following its launch, one report said that over 6,000 undocumented nationals from Pakistan sought legal assistance from the Pakistani consulate while over 3,655 workers from India applied to receive emergency certificates to exit the kingdom.
In all, 19 entities in the government are taking part in this governmental campaign and officials have been using social media in a number of languages to reach expats across the kingdom.
The Ministry of Labor and Social Development’s branch general director in Qassim Turki Al-Manea said that the campaign would help revive economies of establishment and companies and would protect small businesses from expats that are illegal in the kingdom, while also lowering the rate of unemployment.
The amnesty campaign has been used prior to this. The kingdom, which has a very large number of migrant workers, launched this initiative for the first time in 2013.
Over 25 million violators left in that campaign, said officials. The amnesty in 2013 came at a time of a crackdown on the black market labor industry in the kingdom and began as a three-month campaign but was extended to seven to give more time for migrant workers to leave.