According to Saudi Arabia's General Directorate of Passports, expat workers who work on their own account will face severe penalties if they violate the country's labor laws or if they are found working illegally, local daily Al Madina reported. 

According to the newspaper, first-time violators will face a fine of SR10,000 ($2666), and deportation, while second-time offenders will face a SR25,000 ($6670) fine, in addition to a one-month jail sentence, and deportation. 

Depending on individual cases, maximum penalties can reach up to a fine of SR50,000 ($13,332,) six months in jail, and deportation. 

News of the latest penalties comes months after the kingdom launched a campaign that gave residency and labor law violators the chance to leave the country without having to face sanctions or jail time. 

"A Nation without Violators"

Launched in March, "A Nation without Violators" campaign gave illegal workers a three-month amnesty period to sort out their paperwork and leave the country (the period was later extended by one month).  

According to Al Madina, around 600,000 expat workers have benefited from the campaign so far.  

At the time of its launch, Major General Mansour al-Turki, security spokesman of the Ministry of Interior, spoke of the campaign during a press conference, saying: 

"The campaign is aimed at all expatriates who do not hold valid iqamas (residency permits) or identification papers in the kingdom and have the residency or labor regulation or both, or those who have entered the Kingdom on Hajj or Umrah visa or transit and have not taken the initiative to depart after the expiry of their visas." 

Al-Turki also explained that those who leave the country during the amnesty period will not be blacklisted and will be allowed to come back to the kingdom should they obtain proper work permits/visas later on. 

Zero tolerance towards illegal expats

A few weeks after Saudi Arabia launched the "A Nation without Violators" campaign, the kingdom also announced a 50,000 riyal ($13,332) reward to anyone who reports illegal expats to authorities.

The reward was announced earlier this year, during a meeting headed by Jamaan Bin Ahmad Al Ghamidi, the kingdom's consultant to public security. 

At the time, Al Ghamidi warned of a zero tolerance policy towards anyone who employs or hosts illegal expats. 

He also explained that anyone who violates the labor laws of the country would be strictly reprimanded, and went on to say that "illegal expats present security, economic, social and health threats to society."