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Riyadh has said it wants to forcibly expel as many as 2m of the foreign workers, including hundreds of thousands of Ethiopians, Somalis, Indians, Pakistanis and Bangladeshis, who make up around a third of the country’s 30m population.
At home, the exodus of illegal workers is being seen as the kingdom’s most radical labour market experiment yet. With one in four young Saudi males out of work, analysts applaud Riyadh’s determination to tackle the problem, but doubt the crackdown will achieve its objective, as Saudi nationals are unlikely to apply for menial jobs.
Overseas, the deportation is causing friction between Riyadh and the east African and southeast Asian countries that traditionally have provided Saudi Arabia with the bulk of low-wage workers that for decades have fuelled its economy. Ethiopia, Yemen, Somalia and several other countries are struggling to absorb the thousands of unemployed young men now returning, with development officials worrying about the impact on remittances
Saudi Arabia also has problems with a porous border, just like the USA does. So until they secure their borders, I imagine the two million illegals will just turn around and go right back into the country.