Fresh drive to help illegal Indian workers in Saudi Arabia
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Last Updated: Wednesday, November 06, 2013, 16:29
  
Riyadh: India has launched fresh efforts to help those who could not avail a seven-month amnesty for illegal foreign workers in Saudi Arabia, whose new labour law has resulted in nearly 1.35 lakh Indians leaving the Kingdom.

The number of Indians who left during the grace period till October-end is 1,34,281, the Indian embassy here said in a statement.

During this period, 4,34,667 Indians transferred their services to other firms, 4,81,233 Indians changed their jobs or profession and over 4,70,000 Indians renewed their licenses or job permits.

Under Saudi Arabia's new labour policy, Nitaqat, 10 percent of jobs, even in small and medium business establishments, should be reserved for Saudi nationals.

"The Embassy is fully aware of its responsibility to ensure the welfare of more than 2.8 million Indians currently resident in this country," said Deputy Chief of Mission Sibi George.

"We will continue our efforts to help each and every Indian in Saudi Arabia, within the rules and regulations of this friendly country," he said after yesterday's meeting with volunteers registered with the diplomatic mission and officials deployed at Saudi labour offices.

There are over 600 registered volunteers who are working along with Arabic-speaking officials at labour offices across the country to help Indians workers. A 24-hour helpline is also open.

The grace period, announced on April 3 and extended for four months, ended on Sunday.

Foreigners who have not corrected labour and residency status are being arrested and deported from the Gulf Kingdom.

The 2.8 million plus strong Indians in Saudi Arabia is the largest expatriate community in the country.

Overseas Indian Affairs Minister Vayalar Ravi said yesterday that the government is closely watching the situation in Saudi Arabia with 1.34 lakh Indian workers already returning to the homeland.

Meanwhile, a delegation from India's Ministry of Commerce and Industry in India held the second review meeting of India-Saudi Arabia Joint Commission here yesterday. The team also included representatives from the Ministries of Labour and Interior.

Saudi Arabia is the world's largest oil exporter and has the Arab world's largest economy with a bilateral trade of more than USD 43 billion with India.

PTI

First Published: Wednesday, November 06, 2013, 16:29


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