In the past 17 months, Saudi Arabia has arrested and deported 730,873 foreign workers who were in violation of residency and labour rules in the country.
The kingdom has been cracking down on expats as part of its saudisation campaign, that seeks to replace expats with local in the private sector. A reform that has caused trouble to Riyadh's economy.
Saudi Arabia's Interior Ministry launched the ongoing nationwide crackdown against illegal residents on Nov. 15, 2017, in coordination with 19 government departments including the Directorate General of Passports and the Ministry of Labor and Social Development.
The campaign officials said a total of 2,903,531 expatriates were arrested for violating the system of residency, labor regulations and border security. Some 11,197 expat sare currently held in various detention centers across the country for visa violations. They consisted of 9,569 men and 1,628 women, according to local media.
Saudi officials claimed earlier that the Interior Ministry's security campaign called 'A Nation Free of Illegals', aimed at illegal residents in Saudi Arabia achieved its objectives with the coordinated efforts of more than a dozen government agencies.
The Passport Department and several foreign diplomatic missions opened facilitation centers in various parts of the country to help expatriates wishing to leave on their own to complete the procedures.
About 12 million of a total of over 32 million people living in Saudi Arabia are foreigners, most of them unskilled workers from Asia and Africa working in the construction and service sectors, according to official figures.