05:00 GMT +316 October 2019
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    Riyadh Grants Amnesty to Over 20,000 Indians Illegally Residing in Saudi Arabia

    © AFP 2019 / HASSAN AMMAR
    Asia & Pacific
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    Over 20,000 Indians, who have been residing illegally in Saudi Arabia, are set to return from the Gulf nation following its government’s decision to declare an amnesty of 90 days to those violating residency and labor laws to leave the country without penalties.

    New Delhi (Sputnik) — The Saudi Arabian government has launched the "Nation Without Violations" campaign to allow illegal migrants to leave. The Saudi government has set up a center in Riyadh to facilitate the exit of Indian nationals under the government's amnesty program.

    According to the counselor at the Indian Embassy in Riyadh, 20,131 Indian nationals had so far applied to return to India. Most of these people are from the south Indian state of Tamil Nadu and the rest of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar states.

    A large number of Indian workers are living in the various Gulf nations illegally as many of them either traveled through illegal means or overstayed their visas. Many of them have been living in precarious conditions.

    "I am very happy and thankful to the Saudi government for the amnesty. For the past four years, I have been living in an extremely bad condition. I had worked in several companies but very few of them paid. Here in Saudi Arabia, the condition of workers is not good. I am returning empty handed from here but still, I am happy that I will finally meet my family," Mohammed Atif, one of the workers from Uttar Pradesh, told Sputnik.

    The Saudi Arabian government has decided to waive visa fees for the one-way exit visa while the workers have to arrange for the flight tickets home.

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