India, S Arabia sign accord for protecting Indian workers
New Delhi: India and Saudi Arabia Thursday signed a "landmark" agreement to protect the rights of Indian workers there and also agreed to form a joint committee to overcome obstacles in its implementation.
Minister of Labour of Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Adel bin Mohammed Fakeih and Overseas Indian Affairs Minister Vayalar Ravi signed the Agreement on Labour Cooperation on Domestic Service Workers recruitment between the two countries.
The agreement will protect the rights of both employeers and domestic service workers, regulate the contractual relation between them and take measures against recruiting agencies amongst other things.
Thanking the Kingdom for "adopting a humane approach in implementing the Nitaqat programme, Ravi also hoped the standard employment contract would be finalized at the earliest.
"It is indeed very satisfying to see that we could finalize the cooperation agreement and sign it today. This agreement will go a long way in protecting the interest of the workers. It is time now that the standard employment contract should also be finalized at the earliest," Ravi said.
Ravi thanked the Saudi authorities announcing the grace period from April 2013 to November 2013 allowing overstaying expatriate workers to correct their status or to return to their countries without penal action.
Fakeih said that during the grace period, almost 400,000 Indians have regularized their work permits.
"To overcome any possible difficulties and obstacles in its implementation, the two sides have agreed to form a joint bilateral committee comprising senior officials in the two ministries to meet periodically alternatively in the two countries," Fakeih said.