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Jakarta Post

Saudi Arabia deports 200 Indonesian umrah pilgrims

  • Haeril Halim

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Wed, April 12, 2017   /   06:12 pm
Saudi Arabia deports 200 Indonesian umrah pilgrims Muslim pilgrims from Sumenep, Madura, board a plane at Juanda International Airport in Sidoarjo regency, East Java, on Aug. 9. (JP/Wahyoe Boediwardhana)

Saudi Arabia authorities have deported 200 Indonesian umrah (minor haj) pilgrims for allegedly violating immigration laws by working illegally in the country, which hosts the largest number of Indonesian migrant workers.

The deported pilgrims reportedly misused their visas by working in various cities across Saudi Arabia.

The Law and Human Rights Ministry’s Directorate General for Immigration spokesperson, Agung Sampurno, said 286 Indonesians flew to Saudi Arabia on the umrah between June and July 2016 but only 86 of them returned home.

A visa for the umrah is valid for a maximum of 30 days, meaning the 200 pilgrims had overstayed their visas, he said.

Agung further said the whereabouts of the 200 pilgrims had been detected and they had been deported. They were from various regions across Java and Nusa Tenggara, he added.

 “It is suspected that during their illegal stay of several months in Saudi Arabia, they worked without following proper procedure. One method they used was to secure sponsorship from someone and their recruitment was then handled by a company,” Agung said on Wednesday. He identified the company only as PT X.

Agung said to anticipate a recurrence of such violations, the immigration office would strengthen its examination of passport applications by people wanting to go abroad, especially to the Middle East.

Immigration office data shows that from January to March, 1,300 suspicious passport applications were put on hold and the departure of 300 Indonesian was suspended. (ebf)