Report: Illegal foreign workers return to Jeddah streets

Published by rudy Date posted on January 17, 2014

Less than three months after the Saudi government started cracking down on illegal workers, many of these expatriates, including Filipinos, have returned to Jeddah to resume their trade in the streets, a Saudi news site reported Thursday.

Arab News said many of the expatriates were seen Wednesday selling fruit and vegetables and washing cars, with many “wanting” to be arrested and deported.

It quoted Filipino Lapita Mohammed as saying he ran away from his sponsor recently and has been trying to get arrested and deported.

Another illegal expatriate, Somali car cleaner Ali Abdul Qader, said they had heard about arrests and deportation but have yet to experience it.

“We are not bothered about being arrested and deported. All of us clean cars along the busy King Fahd Street in Bawadi,” he said.

Indian worker Ubaid Chakkittaparambil said he and 19 other workers were held at a deportation center but were released after two months.

“After spending two months inside the center we were let out and now have nowhere to go,” he said.

He said Saudi authorities could not deport him because he has a pending legal case. “But I want to be arrested and deported,” he added.

Arab News said it also saw “Yemeni painters and Egyptian plumbers along Prince Miteb Street in Safa district, Pakistani laborers along Rawdah Street in Faisaliyah district, Sudanese cleaners at the Kilo 7 bridge on old Makkah Road, and Indian and Sri Lankan workers wandering around in Ruwais and Khalidia districts.”

It added there were many Ethiopians on the streets still working without documentation.

Meanwhile, Yemeni street vendors were seen selling vegetables in front of several mosques in the city.

On the other hand, plumbers saw more job opportunities last winter, as people needed repairs to their heaters.

The Arab News report quoted Pakistani worker Ejab Gul as saying many Saudi sponsors forced workers to become illegal so there will be more workers to do various jobs, and that distressed expatriates grab any opportunity to get a job as they need huge sums to rectify their status.

“We’re not worried about being arrested and deported, we’re leaving that up to destiny,” he said. — LBG, GMA News

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