Ethiopians Stranded in Saudi Arabia Call for Help

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.

14 thoughts on “Ethiopians Stranded in Saudi Arabia Call for Help

  1. I do not get it. If Ethiopian airlines sales tickets and passengers arrive at the airport why they couldn’t board? Why sale more than available seats? Why doesn’t Ethiopian airlines increase flights to pickup those buying passengers as it is a increase of profits for it? Why don’t those people take other airline companies? I thought Ethiopian airlines was one of the best run airlines in Africa. I am confused.

    1. This is how, for ex, the double- digit- growth was achieved. Weyane genius has no limit.

      We Eritreans are unlucky. From all the peoples of the world- these- are our neighbours.

    2. Simple. The TPLF regime does not want these people to return to Ethiopia. The regime sees these citizens as treasonous and fears their return could reignite the uprising.

      1. Because Weyane is an ethnic apartheid regim, it will only try to help those from its ethnic group. Others will not get any help, unless they are weyane spies.

  2. I feel sorry for this people, they are in limbo forget their government, they don’t care about their own people. Any government when they care and value its own people just like the West do, their people would care, support, and value their government. The will do almost anything for their nationals even if they commit a crime in another countries especially if you are white. No Western nationals will allow Sharia law to apply to it’s citizens. I like to see all African government’s to go Extra mile by any means necessary only then Africans will be proud of their governments and leaders.

  3. It doesn’t make any sense. How is that possible for the people from the world’s fastest growing economy with double digit for over a decade lost completely hope and migrate to Arab countries to make a living by turning themselves in to a modern day slaves and camel herd keepers? I believe such kinds of empty media hype and propaganda in fact makes these poor, desperate and hungry citizens to run away from their beloved country to another very poor and desperate countries such as Djibouti, Somaliland and Yemen. Enough with this nonsense.

    1. Somaliland is not a country, it is part of Somalia. I agree hype does not replace real development. Africa needs to reassess its development plans.

    2. If you read books instead of tabloids, it can increase your understanding of economics. India has 25 million people abroad, even in Arabs countries as maids, US has over 7, China being one of the super powers also has crazy amount people all over. Egypt has close to a million just in Saudi doing same dirty jobs as the rest of us. Compared to these other countries, Ethiopia is not even close to their strengths but no one doubts India’s GDP unless you are Pakistani, no one doubts US job numbers unless you are Trump, no one doubts China muscles unless Taiwanese and no one doubt mama Ethiopia unless Eritreans or ESAT.

  4. ኣየ ተስፋ ኒውስ፡ ሰብኣውነት ኣበይ ኢኹም ሽይጥክሞ ኤርትራውያን ኣብ ሲናይ ብንዳድ ጎማ ብበደዊን እንዳተመሽለጡ፡ ኣወዳትን ኣዋልድን ተዓሚጾም ኡይ ርድኡና እንዳበሉ፡ የሕዋትካ ስለ ዝኾኑ ተሰሚዑካ ኣብዚ ናትካ ማዕከን ዘየምጸኻዮስ፡ ብዛዕባ ኢትዮጵያውያን? ኣቤት ኣበየናይ ጋህሲ ኮን ኢኻ ክትቅበር።

  5. Weyane, kemti menjak siga ab maekel girtsanom tekerkiru aklom zetsibebelom sebat bezihom. men nkeswo elukum…hahahahaha

  6. What about our own people? I am not talking only about the new arrivals eritrean people in saudi arabia in the last years- I am also talking about the thousands who living there since centuries with their families in saudi arabia….Many of them lost the legal status (iqama) or never had one…..What will happen with them?

    @tesfanews: Do you have some information, if our government support them with any kind of service/help to leave the country and to return back to eritrea?

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