Ethiopia reveals to repatriate over 70,000 citizens from Saudi Arabia

Ethiopian Housemaids

Ethiopia is undertaking a significant initiative to repatriate over 70,000 of its citizens from Saudi Arabia.

This move comes in response to the challenging circumstances faced by Ethiopian nationals residing in the kingdom. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has announced that efforts will be made to bring these individuals back to their homeland.

State Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Bertukan Ayano, revealed that the third phase of repatriation, involving 70,000 Ethiopians from Saudi Arabia, is scheduled to commence within two weeks.

The National Committee, established specifically to oversee the return of Ethiopians facing difficulties in Saudi Arabia, has provided guidance on the repatriation process.

Ambassador Bertukan Ayano, who chairs the National Committee, emphasized the necessity of close coordination among federal institutions and regional authorities participating in the initiative.

She stressed the urgency of completing all necessary preparatory tasks promptly to ensure a smooth repatriation process.

Preparations for the repatriation effort are comprehensive, encompassing arrangements for budget allocation, logistical support, and accommodation facilities in Addis Ababa for returning citizens.

Taiba Hassan, Director General of Refugees and Returnees Services, emphasized the importance of focused attention from relevant institutions and regions to facilitate the return of citizens facing hardships in Saudi Arabia.

Members of the National Committee have pledged to make requisite arrangements to adhere to the outlined timeline for the repatriation plan. This commitment underscores Ethiopia’s dedication to ensuring the safe return of its citizens from abroad.

This latest repatriation initiative follows previous efforts by Ethiopia to bring back its nationals from Saudi prisons, where they were detained due to lack of legal residency and work permits.

Over the past year, in collaboration with the International Labor Organization (ILO) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM), Ethiopia successfully repatriated 100,000 individuals from Saudi detention facilities.

Notably, Ethiopia has a history of repatriating its citizens from various destinations, with more than 400,000 individuals returning home between 2017 and 2020.

Illegal migration routes, including human trafficking networks and misinformation, have been identified as significant factors driving Ethiopians to seek opportunities in the Middle East, particularly in Saudi Arabia.

A study conducted by the International Organization for Migration has highlighted war, climate change, and misinformation as primary drivers of illegal migration from Ethiopia to Middle Eastern countries.

Addressing these underlying issues is essential for mitigating the risks associated with irregular migration and ensuring the welfare of Ethiopian nationals both at home and abroad.


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