With the objective of cleaning up its labour market, Saudi Arabia has announced amnesty to over a million illegal migrant workers stuck in the desert Kingdom for years. It was reported on Monday that the official pardon, which was reportedly announced on Sunday, will clear the way for over 80,000 Nepalis to return home without being penalised.
Illegal workers in Saudi Arabia have to go through a lengthy, troublesome procedure which includes a term at a detention centre to leave the country. Saudi Arabia is the third biggest labour destination for Nepali migrant workers. The Nepali mission in Saudi estimates that over 500,000 Nepalis work there, around 70,000 of whom are female.
Undocumented foreign workers can now leave Saudi Arabia on exit visas without being penalised. The Saudi labour ministry has also widened the concept of illegal workers to include those not working under their sponsors or engaged in activities that are not mentioned in their work contracts and runaway workers.