Ethiopia on Friday mobilised 700 volunteers to cope with the thousands of undocumented Ethiopians still stranded in Saudi Arabia ahead of the June 24 expiration of amnesty deadline.
Meles Alem, spokesperson for the Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in a statement said the government is trying to repatriate Ethiopians before the expiry of amnesty deadline by Saudi Arabia for illegal foreign residents.
The ministry said only 11 days are left after the Saudi Arabia government issued a 90-day deadline for foreigners living illegally in the country to leave the Middle East country.
Alem further said that, so far 82,343 undocumented Ethiopians living in Saudi Arabia have taken travel documents to be repatriated to Ethiopia.
Spurred by low prices and increased population, Saudi Arabia is encouraging its citizens to work on jobs normally done by foreigners, both legal and illegal residents.
“Already 1,400 Ethiopians have arrived on Thursday, but we’re expecting some undocumented Ethiopians to be left even after the deadline of the expiry deadline,’’ he said.
He said the Ethiopian government is giving tax exemptions on goods brought by the returnees and is working with regional and federal authorities to smoothen the Ethiopians’ arrival back home.