Saudi Deportation of Migrant Workers

by Vins
Published: Updated:

In an effort to increase job opportunities for Saudi Arabian citizens, the Saudi government is detaining and deporting thousands of undocumented foreign migrant workers. Part of the deportation process includes detaining large populations in what have been described as “appalling” conditions. These detention centers have had reports of guard brutality, overcrowding, lack of food, and poor hygiene. Furthermore, most of these migrant workers are Somalis, who return to one of the most unstable, dangerous nations in the world.

Many of Saudi Arabia’s 7.5 million migrant workers are undocumented, due in part to a confusing and corrupt sponsorship system. Documentation and oversight of foreign workers is left mostly to employers, which has led to widespread accounts of worker exploitation through employers’ withholding of workers’ passports, visas, and pay. Should the legal status of these workers be left up to their employers? Should these workers be deported to their home, where human rights and safety are not respected? This article focuses on personal accounts from Somali migrant workers and their struggle to balance work, safety, and legality.

Source: Laetitia Bader and Adam Coogle, “Saudis’ Mass Expulsions Putting Somalis in Danger,” Middle East Research and Information Project, March 18, 2014,

Student Researcher: Logan Shewmaker (Indian River State College)

Faculty Evaluator: Elliot D. Cohen (Indian River State College)