Ethiopians Stranded in Saudi Arabia Call for Help

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Saudi Amnesty for undocumented workers near to expire
As the 90 days Saudi Amnesty approaches to expire, Ethiopian undocumented workers are calling their government to speed up their departure.


Ethiopians, who wish to leave Saudi Arabia in line with the Kingdom’s amnesty for undocumented workers, have called for their government to speed up their departure.

The Ethiopians who are stranded at Saudi airports speaking to ESAT said they have bought their tickets from the Ethiopian Airlines but were unable to board their planes due to lack efficient collaboration between the ticket offices and government representatives.

“Women and children are waiting for days on at the airports without enough food. The Airlines is demanding penalty fees while it is not our fault that we are stranded at airport terminals,” a woman told ESAT.

The Ethiopian regime says about 85,000 Ethiopians have registered to leave the Kingdom but only about 35,000 returned so far as the 90 day amnesty expires today.

It is estimated that about 700,000 Ethiopians live in the Kingdom and a great majority of them are undocumented.

The government of Saudi Arabia in March decreed a 90 day amnesty for undocumented workers to leave the Kingdom.

The hundreds of Ethiopians who haven’t obtained their travel documents now face penalty and imprisonment which will be followed by deportation.

Ethiopian Airlines Fails Ethiopians in Saudi


Ethiopian Airlines failed to depart Ethiopians in Saudi Arabia who purchased their flight tickets to repatriate before the deadline of the sanctions imposed on Ethiopians to exit Saudi Arabia.

Why do Ethiopians Migrate to Saudi Arabia?

Saudi Arabia is a preferred country for many young Ethiopians who find the local job prospects to be limited. Ethiopian women, especially those without a college education, are more likely to seek mostly domestic works in Saudi Arabia despite the kingdom’s bad record on migrant rights.

Chris Horwood of the Regional Mixed Migration Secretariat (RMMS) says that endemic poverty caused by economic inequality, poor education and lack of training options are the main drivers of migration from Ethiopia.

Once they arrive in Saudi Arabia, undocumented Ethiopian domestic workers face severe challenges. They are excluded from the protections granted by Kingdom’s labor law. They can secure a visa and legal status only through employers, which creates room for abuse and exploitation. Mental, physical and sexual abuses are frequent complaints by domestic workers from Ethiopia, says HRW.

Ethiopian Returnees Vow to Return Back to Saudi

Ethiopia Asks for Extension of Saudi Amnesty Deadline


Ethiopia has asked for an extension of the 90 days amnesty that will expire Wednesday issued by Saudi Arabia for illegal migrants to return to their original countries.

Speaking to an Ethiopian state-affiliated media outlet Radio Fana, spokesperson for Ethiopia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs Meles Alem says Ethiopia has managed to make 45,000 of its undocumented citizens return home and gave to another 110,000 Ethiopian travel documents.

Both figures are still a minority of the estimated 400,000 undocumented Ethiopians living in Middle East’s largest economy in jobs ranging from maids to construction sites workers.

Alem says with an unknown number of undocumented Ethiopians remaining in Saudi Arabia, the Ethiopian government has presented a proposal to Saudi authorities to extend the amnesty deadline.

With a growing population currently at around 30 million and a squeeze in international oil price Saudi Arabia is on a drive to indigenize its’ work force currently dominated by millions of illegal and legal migrants.

The approaching deadline recalled painful memories Ethiopians in the last deportation debacle in November 2013 when a deportation round by Saudi authorities on illegal migrants left many Ethiopians in Saudi detention camps or back home penniless.

Ethiopian government has already dispatched a dozen diplomats in its embassy in Riyadh and consular offices in other Saudi cities to give consular advice to stranded Ethiopians.

With an eye to curbing illegal migration, the Ethiopian government last month signed an agreement with Saudi Arabia government for an overseas employment agreement to help future legal Ethiopian migrants.

It has also put advertorials in Ethiopian electronic media urging relatives of Ethiopians illegally residing in Saudi Arabia to persuade them to return ahead of the expiry of the Amnesty deadline.