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Saudi set to deport 260,000 ahead of Nov 3 deadline
October 14, 2013, 11:49 am

Labour authorities in Saudi Arabia anticipate that they will have deported 260,000 foreign workers from the country ahead of a November 3 deadline.

As part of a crackdown on illegal migrants in the Gulf kingdom, the government is seeking to deport all overseas workers with expired or invalid paperwork. As part of an amnesty period, those affected have until the start of November to correct their documentation or can choose to leave the country without consequence.

The kingdom has turned a blind eye to minor violations of its strict labour regulations for decades, allowing an influx of cheap labour used both by companies and as domestic workers.

Yemen, Egypt, Lebanon, Ethiopia, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Indonesia and the Philippines all have large numbers of citizens working in Saudi Arabia and all rely heavily on their remittances.

As part of a series of reforms over the last two years, Saudi Arabia has tried to free up jobs for its own citizens, 12 percent of whom are unemployed, according to official data. The figure does not include the much larger number of people who are jobless but not looking for work.

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