Dubai: Saudi Arabia has announced a six-month amnesty for hundreds of illegal foreigners overstaying their visas, and they would be allowed to leave the Kingdom without punishment.
"They have been advised to complete the necessary procedures for their departure by reporting to the nearest Department for Foreigners Affairs (Wafideen) from Sept 25, 2010 to March 23, 2011," the country`s Interior Ministry said in a statement.
The amnesty would cover those who arrived in the Kingdom on Hajj, Umrah, visit or any other type of visa which had expired, or violated Passport Department regulations.
"Violators caught after the grace period will receive tough punishment including jail and fine," it warned.
The declaration came on the eve of the Kingdom`s National Day, which falls on September 23, when the King usually declares amnesty for a large number of prisoners, including Saudis and expatriates, arrested for petty crimes.
The number of overstayers in the Kingdom has gone down considerably in recent months as a result of the new fingerprinting system and stricter Umrah rules.
Reports suggest an estimated one to three million illegal residents in the Kingdom even though the number of persons entering the Kingdom illegally had fallen by approximately 72,000 over the last two years.