Manila – The foreign workers in Saudi Arabia started hiding in their places as the authority’s fire up raids on establishments, offices, and other public sites where expats usually gather.
Busy streets and markets including the Riyadh Industrial Zone where foreign workers used to make money, became a silent city after the grace period given by King Abdullah expired on Monday.
Of the 9 million foreigners illegally residing in Saudi, 12,729 undocumented Filipino workers are still on pending procurements while 4,330 others were already sent home.
A total of 1,899 foreign workers were already arrested by the Saudi authority as of yesterday excluding the large number of Filipino nationals who are still waiting for expatriations.
According to Labor Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz, OFW’s should stop their apprehension of being arrested as long as they already have their relevant and legal documents on process.
“The understanding is that as long as the document of the illegal migrant is already being processed for repatriation, they won’t be arrested,” said Baldoz.
Blocking black market
The effort of the Saudi government is now being strengthened to free private sector jobs and to be able to provide works and better employment for the locals.
The government is now working hand-in-hand to end black market and to cut foreign labor force after decades of tolerating irregularities inside the kingdom.
Implementation of the rule was already initiated on March then continued only until the extension of the fixations ended on November 3.
According to Saudi government, foreign workers have no reason to fight against the law because the government has given enough time to correct their statuses and they keep on issuing warnings before the deadline.
Companies, people or firms that charge expatriates to sponsor their visa and those who continue to employ illegal expatriates will be fined.
However, Deputy Labor Minister Mufrej al-Haqbani said that they just want foreigners to remain in the kingdom lawfully. (Elaine Faye M. Abueva, ABCom, LNU)