Saudi Arabia has detained some 194,000 expats in a wide-scale sweep targeting individuals remaining illegally in the kingdom.
From Nov. 15 to Dec. 11, Saudi authorities have cracked down and arrested individuals with incorrect work permits and residency documents, as well as those who remained in the kingdom without any legal basis, according to Gulf News.
More than 2,000 have been deported so far. Of those detained, 77 percent are Yemenis and 22 percent are Ethiopians.
As the kingdom makes major economic reforms and begins to nationalize many job sectors traditionally populated heavily by foreigners, Riyadh has also moved to crack down on illegal immigrants.
Starting at the end of March, the kingdom granted illegal expats three months amnesty to leave without facing fines or legal measures. Since then, the kingdom has taken measures to round-up and detain those found in violation of the law.
Those who did not give themselves up prior to the 90-day deadline will be required to pay fines ranging from 10,000 riyals ($2,666) to 50,000 riyals.
In May, Jamaan Bin Ahmad Al Ghamidi, consultant to public security, said the kingdom would reward anyone who reported illegal expats with 50,000 riyals. Al Ghamidi warned there would be zero tolerance towards anyone who employs or hosts illegal expats.
Earlier this month, it was also announced that Saudis who host or help illegal expats will also face massive fines and imprisonment. The specific fine was set at 100,000 riyals, with offenders facing up to two years in prison.