Ethiopia Repatriates Over 16,000 Illegal Workers from Saudi Arabia

Ethiopians from Saudi Arabia return home
Ethiopian workers walk with their luggage as they wait with their countrymen to be repatriated in Manfouha, southern Riyadh, November 11, 2013. Faisal Al Nasser/Reuters
Ethiopians from Saudi Arabia return home
Ethiopian workers walk with their luggage as they wait with their countrymen to be repatriated in Manfouha, southern Riyadh, November 11, 2013. Faisal Al Nasser/Reuters

Ethiopia has opened its doors for the return of over 16,000 nationals who were working illegally in Saudi Arabia.

Ethiopia has repatriated 16,248 Ethiopians who did not have work permits from Saudi Arabia, Ethiopian Foreign Minister Tedros Adhanom said.

He said a government commission has proposed a temporary ban on the travel of Ethiopians for work outside the country to ensure their rights.

He went on to say that the ban will remain in force until “we protect the rights of Ethiopian workers abroad”.

Adhanon said the ban aims to reduce the risks Ethiopian workers face in the countries they travel to.

At least two people were killed in clashes between hundreds of undocumented foreign workers, including Ethiopians, and Saudi security forces in the Menhoufa district, south of Riyadh, earlier this month.

In March, the Saudi government amended labor regulations in an effort to restrict the number of undocumented foreign workers in the kingdom.