Saudi Arabia says it has deported "more than a quarter million" foreign migrant workers from the kingdom over the past three months.

The Interior Ministry said late Tuesday the foreigners had been residing in the country illegally and were in violation of labor laws. It didn't elaborate.

The deportations began after Nov. 4 with a nationwide campaign targeting many of the kingdom's 9 million migrant laborers after years of lax law enforcement.

Many of those deported were Ethiopians accused of crossing into Saudi Arabia illegally through its southern border with Yemen.

Most foreign workers in the kingdom are from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Indonesia and the Philippines, as well as Egypt and Yemen.

Saudi authorities say booting out illegal foreign migrants will open more jobs for its own citizens.