About 1,000 Indians, who entered Saudi Arabia on pilgrim visas and overstayed in the search of a job, were deported since Monday with the kingdom authorities raised the issue with Indian authorities expressing their concern over the rise in such cases.
Officials at the passport department have been struggling to find them room at the deportation centre in Jeddah, which is currently coping with the rush of illegal residents taking advantage of the amnesty, media reports said.
Saudi Arabia had issued a two-month amnesty, which began April 2, for those who have entered the Kingdom on Haj and Umrah visas and overstayed there.
Many illegal residents mostly Indians are camping in squalid conditions under numerous Jeddah bridges waiting to be arrested by immigration authorities, Arab News reported.
"Nearly 8,000 overstayers are packed in Tarheel (Jeddah deportation centre)," an immigration official was quoted as saying. The capacity of the centre is just 5,500.
Expressing their concern, senior Saudi officials were in consultations with Indian consular officials over the past week to find a solution to the problem of Indians pouring into the Kingdom on Umrah visas in order to find work.
Saudi Haj Minister Fouad Al-Farsy also discussed the issue with Indian Minister of State for External Affairs E Ahamed when they met last month.
Earlier, Pakistanis topped the list of overstayers, but now it is Indians. "In 2005, nearly 60,000 Pakistanis had overstayed their visas, while Indian's figure was at 40,000," a source was quoted as saying by the Arab News.