Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry (Photo: Reuters)
Egypt said it is working to facilitate the repatriation of Egyptian expatriate workers who have been detained -- among many of other nationalities -- by Saudi authorities for violating the country’s labour law.
The Egyptian general-consul in Jeddah, Adel Al-Alfy, said the consulate team is following up on the conditions of those who have been detained in the capital Riyadh for "escaping" from their employment sponsors.
Under restrictions introduced in March 2013 by the oil-rich kingdom, foreigners are only allowed to work for their legal sponsors and are not authorised to work independently, even if their employers approve.
Many foreign workers enter Saudi Arabia under the sponsorship of a Saudi national but end up working for others, or set up their own businesses.
"The Egyptian consulate in Jeddah has contacted Saudi authorities in an attempt to find a solution to the matter," Egypt’s foreign ministry said in a statement late on Monday.
The consulate is following up on the conditions of those who have been detained on a daily basis and is working to facilitate the procedures so that they can be extradited to Egypt, the statement added.
The ministry did not provide the exact number of Egyptian expatriates being detained.
The violators will be fined 10,000 riyals, handed a final exit order and repatriated back home after official travel papers are issued for them.
The ministry urged Egyptian workers in the Gulf country to conform to employment and stay regulations to avoid any legal sanctions.
Foreigners made up 10.1 million of the total population of 30.8 million in 2014, according to the latest official data.
Tens of thousands of Egyptians work in the kingdom.