Ethiopia says Saudi Arabia exiles more than 1,300 citizens


ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia – Ethiopia says more than 1,300 citizens have been expelled from Saudi Arabia in the "last days" after a warning expired for undocumented immigrants to leave the Gulf nation voluntarily.

The Foreign Ministry statement late on Tuesday came after Saudi officials began an offensive against undocumented immigrants, including tens of thousands of Ethiopians.

"The government is working with Saudi Arabia to return its citizens to safety," Demeke Atinafu, director general of diaspora affairs, told Fana Broadcasting Corporate.

Ethiopian officials said more than 70,000 people have returned home since Saudi Arabia ordered all undocumented immigrants to leave in March. The order was extended later until June, but most of the migrants remained. Those who do not leave face forced deportation and a series of fines.

It is estimated that more than 400,000 Ethiopian migrants live in Saudi Arabia, mostly working as domestic servants and agricultural workers.

The majority of Ethiopian migrant workers enter Saudi Arabia illegally through neighboring Yemen and send money home which, in many cases, is the only means for family members to get away with it. Human Rights Watch has estimated that Ethiopian migrants sent their country globally more than $ 4 billion in 2015.

"In many other countries, these Ethiopians could apply for asylum and potentially have the right to international protection," he said. group of rights on migrants in Saudi Arabia. "The problem is that Arabia does not have a refugee law or an asylum system."

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