Saudi Arabia has expelled more than 2,500 migrant workers in the past three months, the country’s Interior Ministry authorities have announced.
The ministry further stated on Tuesday that the workers were residing illegally in the Persian Gulf kingdom and expelled for violating the country’s labor regulations.
According to reports, the deportations began on November 4, 2013, as part of a controversial campaign against some nine million foreign workers in the oil-rich kingdom. Riyadh has announced that the move will open more jobs for Saudi citizens.
Saudi authorities launched a visa crackdown on undocumented foreign workers in early November. Several foreign workers have since been killed by the Saudi police and many others imprisoned.
On November 12, the Saudi police killed three Ethiopian migrant workers in the impoverished neighborhood of Manfuhah in the capital, Riyadh, where thousands of African workers, mostly Ethiopians, were waiting for buses to take them to deportation centers.
Riyadh has come under increasing fire from rights groups for its crackdown on migrants in recent months.
In a report on January 22, Human Rights Watch slammed Saudi Arabia for human rights violation in the country.
The situation of foreign workers, crackdown on human rights activists, Saudi officials’ refusal to register political and human rights groups, and restrictions on women were among the violations in the country listed in the report.
In October 2013, Amnesty International censured Saudi authorities for not addressing the “dire human rights situation” in the country.
The group also handed in a paper to the United Nations, which included information regarding a “new wave of repression against civil society, which has taken place over the last two years.”