Riyadh, capital of Saudi Arabia. Photo: Chronus, Wikimedia Commons

About 16,000 Filipino who had been working in Saudi Arabia illegally were given amnesty under the Saudi government’s “A Nation Without Violations” program.

Silvestre Bello III, secretary of the Philippine Department of Labor and Employment, said this weekend that 15,389 Filipinos had availed themselves of the amnesty, of whom 10,011 had been sent back to the Philippines, The Manila Times reported.

On March 29, Saudi Arabia launched a 90-day “Nation Without Violations” program, which allowed illegal immigrants to return to their home countries without being fined or blocked from re-entering the kingdom legally.

Within three months of the program, more than 700,000 illegal immigrants took advantage of the amnesty and were able to return to their home countries, Saudi Gazette reported.

In Saudi Arabia, the maximum penalty for working illegally is a fine of 50,000 riyals (US$13,333), six months in jail, and deportation.