About 5,000 Thais working in Saudi Arabia are asking for help to come home after Riyadh raised visa fees for foreign migrants, officials said Friday, as authorities prepared to repatriate 629 residents of the Deep South, one of Thailand’s poorest regions.
The Southern Border Province Administration Center (SBPAC) was negotiating with the Thai Foreign Ministry, Thai Airways and Riyadh for permission for airliners to pick up Thai workers from Medina airport in Saudi Arabia and fly them home, agency director Teeruth Supawoboonpol said.
SBPAC is the government office that oversees issues related to the predominantly Muslim population of Thailand’s troubled and impoverished southern border region.
“These people want to go home because Saudi Arabia has raised fees on expats every year,” Teeruth told BenarNews.
It was not immediately clear if the issues faced by Thai workers in the Arab kingdom were related to a $20-million gem heist in Saudi Arabia back in the 1980s that soured bilateral relations.
Thai workers currently pay about 1,800 baht (U.S. $54) each month for the privilege to work in Saudi, he said.
Full story: BenarNews
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