Saudi expat 'amnesty' set to see one million leave before June

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At least one million migrant workers are expected to leave Saudi Arabia under its amnesty campaign, which is currently underway, according to kingdom officials.

The three-month long campaign allows those individuals that are currently in Saudi without the right visas and documents to leave the country, without facing fines or penalties for violating the rules.

Those leaving under amnesty are also allowed to be exempt from the ‘exit fingerprint’ requirement, and can return to the kingdom at a later date legally, without an retribution for breaking the law, according to local reports.

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Naif urged violators to “take advantage of the opportunity during the allotted grace period, and for all to cooperate in achieving the campaign’s goals and  instructed “involved parties to facilitate the departure of violators during the period and exempt them of penalties.”

The campaign officially began on March 29, and preliminary results indicate that it has been “positive,” local daily Arab News quoted officials from the General Directorate of Passports and Ministry of Labour and Social Development as saying.

In order to apply for the amnesty, workers must go on the Ministry of Interior’s website and book an appointment in the passport section using their residence ID and date of birth.

In total, 19 government entities are participating in the campaign, with officials using social media in several languages to reach out to expats across the country as the campaign is widened.

Benefits for civil servants ‘re-instated’

Elsewhere in Saudi Arabia the move towards appeasing Saudi nationals, has seen a reinstatement of one of the kingdom’s most contentious austerity measures, with the reinstatement of state benefits to civil servants and military personnel.

Last October the move was reluctantly brought in as part of restriction placed on government spending and other austerity measures, introduced due to the affect of low oil prices on the economy.

Speaking on Saudi Arabia’s state TV, King Salman bin Abdulaziz said that the six-month hiatus was over and that the ruling family would once again provide for people that are loyal to the state.

Among other moves, King Salman also reshuffled the cabinet, including the appointment of his son Prince Khaled bin Salman as ambassador to the US.

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