- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Saudi Arabia has put in motion a tough new illegal immigration policy that cracks down on businesses and fines them for hiring undocumented workers.

The country has hired 1,000 inspectors to check on small business hiring practices and ensure foreigners aren’t working illegally, Reuters reported.

“We have and will continue to have millions of foreign workers,” said Labour Minister Adel al-Fakieh, in Reuters. “We have 7.5 million legal foreign workers, and we need them. We will continue to issue visas for others, but those who want to come to this country have to respect the law.”

Saudi Arabian authorities have already deported hundreds of thousands of illegal workers, Reuters said. The crackdown is aimed at reducing unemployment among legal residents; that figure now stands at 12 percent, Reuters reported.

Authorities estimate between 1 million and 2 million illegals now live and work in the nation.

The business inspections start next month, and as part of the policy, government officials are installing a hotline for residents to report suspicions and violators, Reuters said. Firms found in violation will face fines.

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