BAHRAIN, Saudi Arabia — A month after expatriate immigration officials issued a “no-entry” order on the Brunei Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi authorities on Tuesday denied visas for some of the country’s 1.5 million expatriated Muslims.
The Saudi Interior Ministry on Tuesday also said the ministry was working to ensure that all Saudi expatriation workers are allowed to return to their home countries as soon as possible.
“This is totally in denial,” a Saudi official told Reuters, using another name for the expatriating Muslim group.
“It is the government’s responsibility to protect the security and safety of its citizens and we will do our utmost to ensure their safety.”
The Saudi expats are seeking jobs in the kingdom and have been waiting for months for their visas to be approved.
The ministry on Tuesday said there were 1,600 Saudi expat workers in the United States.
Saudi Arabia is one of the top exporters of visas and other forms of travel to the United State.
The expatriats have been granted a one-month tourist visa, which gives them permission to stay for one month in the U.S. before they are allowed back to their homeland.
They are also allowed to work in Saudi Arabia but have been banned from holding official positions, like as public officials.
The issue has raised concerns among the countrys 1.2 billion expatries, who fear that the ban would undermine their livelihoods.
Saudi Arabia has not responded to the U,N.
call for a boycott of the kingdom.