The amnesty that gave illegal immigrants a grace period to leave or legalize their status ended on Nov. 3. Many streets in Jeddah wore a deserted look and attendance in schools remained thin. I went to a nearby market on Monday morning and was surprised to find that many shops were closed. Many people complained that they could not find cooking gas as the depots have been closed down fearing raids to net illegal expatriates.
Panic has gripped the expatriate communities. Despite repeated government assurances that labor inspectors would not raid homes, people are in a state of confusion and perpetual fear.
Social media networks are also circulating messages warning the public of fake inspectors from labor and passport offices. Many of these fraudsters, they say, have criminal records of burglaries.
This is a very worrisome situation for the expatriates. I request the authorities to make sure that legal expatriates are not disturbed and should take measures to check activities of fraudsters who might try to exploit the situation.
According to reports appearing in a section of press, hundreds of expatriates were unable to get their status corrected due to a deluge of people at the relevant department. I urge the authorities to give all such people a second chance if possible. — Rashid Ahmed, Jeddah