The Ethiopian government and various non-governmental organizations have urged undocumented Ethiopians residing in Saudi Arabia to take advantage of the three-month amnesty, which came into force on March 29.

The kingdom of Saudi Arabia announced the “Nation Free of Violators” campaign on March 19, to help undocumented expatriates regularize their status. Undocumented foreigners are able to leave the kingdom during the three-month grace period without paying any fines or being subject to legal actions.

The Middle Eastern country, however, announced that foreigners, who have failed to leave the country within the provided period, would face deportation, a prison sentence and fines.

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According to the Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, even though only 36 days left to the deadline given by the kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the number of undocumented Ethiopians returning back to their country is stills less.

Close to 400,000 undocumented Ethiopians are believed to live in Saudi Arabia. However, only 25,000 of them have so far received their travel documents to come back to their country, Meles Alem, Ministry Spokesperson told Xinhua on Wednesday.

The latest call was made by the Inter-Religious Council of Ethiopia (IRCE), a coalition of religious institutions in Ethiopia, urging Ethiopian nationals residing in Saudi Arabia without legal residence or work permit to return to their home country before the deadline set by the government of Saudi Arabia approaches.

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The Council called on Ethiopians to take advantage of the amnesty and return to their country safely before facing unfavorable situations endangering their safety. Enditem

Source: Xinhua/NewsGhana.com.gh