In April 2017, the Government of Saudi Arabia launched a campaign titled ‘A Nation without Violations’, granting all irregular migrants an amnesty period of 90 days to leave the country without facing penalties.
After multiple extensions, the amnesty period ended in November 2017. Since then, many Ethiopians have been arrested, detained and sent back to Ethiopia on chartered flights. Returnees arrive at Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa, where they are registered by IOM staff before continuing on to their destination. IOM also provides travel support to the most vulnerable migrants. IOM teams have registered a total of 423,398 returnees since April 2017, although the organization estimates that returns to Ethiopia following the decree are likely to be even higher. Since May 2017, IOM has electronically registered 416,6561 returnees whose profiles are presented in this factsheet. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, returns were temporarily halted on 22 March, and resumed on 3-13 April, 2-8 June and since September 2020.