Nigeria repatriated hundreds of its citizens stuck in Saudi Arabia on Thursday.
The returnees had overstayed their visas and spent months living in a camp. The Nigerian government is working to fly more than 800 Nigerians home from Saudi by Friday, Reuters reported.
The COVID-19 pandemic and the accompanying restrictions on travel have been hard on foreigners working in Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries, with many getting stranded. Millions of non-Saudis live in the kingdom, some working low-income jobs. The lockdowns imposed to battle the coronavirus in the country have resulted in job losses for some. Saudi Arabia has also stopped international flights at various times since the start of the virus outbreak. Many Nigerians seek work abroad.
Saudi Arabia has been criticized for years over the living conditions of its foreign worker population. In November, the government allowed foreigners to leave the country without their employers’ approval.