200,000 illegals deported in 120 days

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Updated 07 March 2015
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200,000 illegals deported in 120 days

More than 200,000 foreigners have been deported over the first four months of 1436 AH, which started on Oct. 25, for violating the Kingdom’s residency and labor regulations, sources said.
According to figures released by the Passport Department recently, 58,710 illegal expatriates were deported in the first month of Muharram (Oct. 25 to Nov. 22), 63,762 in Safar (Nov. 23 to Dec. 22) and 59,569 in Rabi Al-Awwal (Dec. 23 to Jan. 20).
Maj. Gen. Khalafallah Al-Tuwaireqi, director of the Passports Department in Makkah region, said more than 41,000 violators have been deported in the fourth month of Rabi Al-Thani from this region alone.
“The deportees included different nationalities,” said Al-Tuwaireqi, adding that the deportations took place from Jan. 21 to March 3. Every day the department deports 1,500 to 2,000 violators, he said.
Meanwhile, the police in Madinah and Baha arrested 6,654 illegal workers last month, senior officials confirmed on Thursday.
According to security spokesman Col. Fahd Al-Ghannam, the Madinah raids included several neighborhoods, with 5,389 people arrested. A total of 48,773 people have now been arrested in the region since the campaign began.
Last month, the police in the Baha region arrested 1,267 expats who violated regulations, said Col. Saad bin Saleh Al-Tarrad, media spokesman for the region’s police.
The officials said that the workers had flouted the country’s work and residency laws and would now face prosecution and deportation at the expense of the government.
They said the raids would continue in the regions, including operations to apprehend criminals involved in theft, sorcery and brewing liquor.
Security agencies have, meanwhile, stepped up preparations to carry out the second phase of a major campaign to flush out illegal aliens as part of efforts to strengthen the country’s security and create jobs for citizens.
Lt. Col. Ahmed Al-Laheedan, spokesman of the department, said 37 committees have been set up to investigate illegal foreigners. “After investigating the violators, the data is fed into the system, punitive action is taken against them, followed by coordination with embassies and airlines to deport them,” Al-Laheedan said.
Passport Director General Sulaiman Al-Yahya has ruled out the need for more shelters.
“There is good coordination with embassies and airlines to carry out the deportations quickly. So there will not be any need for more shelters to house them,” he said.
There are now 43 shelters in the country including 13 in Riyadh, six in the Eastern Province, four in Makkah and three each in Madinah, Qassim and Asir.
Al-Yahya said the department has speeded up deportation procedures, with illegal workers staying no more than seven days, except in rare cases. About 48 percent of the deportations have taken place through King Abdulaziz Airport in Jeddah and 33 percent via the Tiwal border checkpoint in Jazan.


Christchurch Muslims praise King Salman’s Hajj offer

Updated 18 min 27 sec ago
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Christchurch Muslims praise King Salman’s Hajj offer

  • The president of the Muslim Association of Canterbury Shagaf Khan said people will be both financially and spiritually supported during the journey
  • Khan said a trip to Makkah would normally cost around 10,000 New Zealand dollars ($6,769), but King Salman’s offer would cover pilgrims “from the time they leave their house and come back”

CHRISTCHURCH: King Salman’s Hajj offer to host families of those affected by March’s Christchurch terror attacks is “something really special,” said the president of the Muslim Association of Canterbury, Shagaf Khan.
The Saudi king has offered to host and cover the expenses of 200 Hajj pilgrims when they journey to Makkah this year.
Khan said people will be both financially and spiritually supported during the journey. “For some of them, it’ll be a great comfort feeling like they’ve fulfilled the obligations of being a Muslim,” he added.
Khan said a trip to Makkah would normally cost around 10,000 New Zealand dollars ($6,769), but King Salman’s offer would cover pilgrims “from the time they leave their house and come back.”
When asked what the offer would mean for Canterbury’s Muslim community, Khan said it is part of the solidarity and support that has been shown to them since the Christchurch terror attacks, which claimed the lives of 51 people.
“Four months on … people still feel supported and they feel they’re still being remembered,” he added.
Sheikh Mohammed Amir, who is working closely with the local community, Saudi Arabia’s Embassy and its Ministry of Islamic Affairs to implement King Salman’s offer, said it will be available for those who had lost family members or been injured in the mosque attacks.
Canterbury’s Muslims are “very appreciative” of the offer, added Amir, who is chairman of the Islamic Scholars Board of New Zealand.
“I’ll say with full confidence that this will be a big relief for the deceased’s families, for the victims, for all those who’ve been injured and affected,” he said.
When asked how the organization of the pilgrimage is going, Amir said “so far, so good,” but added that it has been challenging without official records to track everyone down.
He said it is an honor and a responsibility to help organize the pilgrimage, which he has been helping to plan since the end of Ramadan. “People are very excited about it,” he added.
He said he believed that the king’s offer had been made to help people’s rehabilitation after the terror attacks.
“The community believes he’s going to contribute in building Christchurch and bringing people to a normal life,” Amir added.