Hundreds of stranded Filipino including children were arrested and transported to the deportation center at Shumaisy in Makkah on Sunday morning.
There is a considerable number of illegal Filipino nationals, particularly women, demanding repatriation. These nationals could not take advantage of the concessions during the grace period due to lack of documentation.
Jeddah police and passport officials directed 12 buses to the site and shifted the women and their children to the deportation center in Makkah.
Their formal detention took place in the early hours of Sunday outside the Philippine Consulate in the Rehab district.
News of the arrest spread fast among fellow Filipinos, who rushed to the consulate in the hope that they, too, would be picked up for deportation. Scores of Filipino men and women waited outside the consulate for hours, but the buses that transported the first group did not return to pick them up.
The women who were arrested seemed relieved, while those still waiting at the consulate expressed disappointment. Dozens of men and women crowded at Umm Al-Qura Street demanding repatriation, causing a traffic snarl in the area on Sunday.
Philippine Consul General Uriel Garibay told Arab News: “The Philippine Consulate is working with the Saudi passport and police authorities in coordination with the Saudi Foreign Ministry to repatriate stranded Filipinos. About 600 Filipinos were shifted to the deportation center in Makkah by authorities and we are now working on arrangements to transport the remaining stranded OFWs to the same center.”
20,000 Yemenis deported
At least 20,000 residency rule violators of Yemeni descent have been arrested and deported since the beginning of the Labor Ministry’s raids.
Col. Abdullah Bin Mahfouz, spokesman of the Jazan border guard, said the illegal expatriates are being treated humanely and are being provided with meals, water and medical treatment.
Bin Mafouz said that there are three stages involved in the aftermath of the inspection process. Authorities first verify the names of the arrested individuals, then take their fingerprints to ascertain whether they are wanted by security forces. They are deported only once their names are cleared.
“In the case of Yemeni nationals, these procedures are completed and we then transfer the individuals by bus in coordination with the Yemeni Border Guards,” he added.
Bin Mahfouz pointed out that additional officers were sent to assist Jazan border guard in processing the large number of illegal expatriates who have been arrested since Nov. 3.
He lauded the efforts of the Saudi Red Crescent in extending treatment and aid to women and children at Altwal.
The spokesman refuted claims that the fingerprinting devices were defective, asserting that the devices are working around the clock.