About 800 Ghanaian migrants living in Saudi Arabia illegally have turned themselves in at Ghana’s mission there to be deported.
This follows a three-month amnesty granted illegal residents by the Saudi government to leave or be sanctioned.
Foreign Affairs Minister, Shirley Ayorkor Botchway explained in a Citi interview that the Ghana government is subsidizing the cost of travel of some individuals while others would be transported back home free of charge.
“They’ve been given an extended deadline of 24th of July so any time after that they will be coming and these are voluntary returnees. We have assisted in reducing the fees for the travel certificate and instances they can’t afford it give it to them. And the international Organization on Migration is also helping by getting them tickets to come back,” she added.
Over 500 Ghanaians to be repatriated
The Ghana Embassy in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in May 2017 appealed to Ghanaians living in that country without residency and work permits to take advantage of a package by the Embassy to return them to Ghana.
Ghana’s mission at the time said over 500 people applied voluntarily to be repatriated.
This was because Saudi Arabia announced a 90-day amnesty for persons living in that country illegally who wished to return to their countries of origin as part of the Kingdom’s “A Nation Without Illegal Expatriates” campaign.
Abuses and maltreatment
There have been several reported cases of abuses and maltreatment of Ghanaians who usually take up jobs as maids and nannies in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.
Several female Ghanaians were rescued in Kuwait by the Ghanaian Embassy in 2015.
According to Ghana’s mission, it is regrettable to note that both Ghanaian agents and their foreign counterparts mislead prospective Ghanaian workers by promising them non-existent juicy offers which turn out to be a hell for most of these workers.