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We want to go home
Thousands of illegal expatriate workers in Saudi Arabia are desperate to get deported to their home countries.
September 3, 2009 12:32 by Aarti Nagraj
About 1,000 Indonesian workers in Saudi Arabia who have overstayed their visas, have been sent to detention centers after they began protesting in front of their consulate in Jeddah, reports Saudi-based daily Arab News. The illegal laborers, among them housemaids and drivers, demanded immediate deportation.
“The group that became unruly was by far the biggest in recent years,” Didi Wahyudi, head of Consular Affairs at the Indonesian Consulate, told the Saudi paper.
“The protest was meant to draw the attention of the consulate to our plight and seek immediate deportation,” Abdullah Omer, a middle-aged Indonesian, said. He said as soon word spread about the protesters and their detention, other Indonesian illegal residents in the kingdom began to join them.
A similar incident took place at the Philippine consulate in Jeddah. Around 150 Filipino workers, who have also overstayed their visas, are now living and sleeping in makeshift tents outside their consulate, demanding deportation. Some of the workers also include pregnant women.
“They are trying to attract the attention of the police and the Passport Department to be deported to their home country,” a man who lives close to the consulate told Arab News.
“This is an unfortunate situation. We are hoping to resolve it in a timely matter,” said a consulate official. “These are mostly workers who have run away from their previous employers. Some of them arrived on Umrah visas and then overstayed. We are working with the Saudi deportation authorities to send them back to the Philippines,” he added.
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