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India welcomes extension of Saudi amnesty for foreign workers

Last Updated: Wednesday, July 3, 2013 - 20:47

Dubai: India on Wednesday welcomed the extension of grace period announced by Saudi Arabia for regularisation of foreign workers and asked Indians in the country to fully utilise the four-month amnesty.

Welcoming the extension, Indian embassy in Riyadh expressed its gratitude to King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud for adopting a humanitarian approach towards this issue.

"The Embassy also extends its gratitude to all concerned Saudi authorities for extending their wholehearted support and cooperation during this period. The Embassy urges the Indian community to fully utilise the grace period effectively," a statement released by the embassy said.

The Embassy also urged all those Indians who have collected their Emergency Certificates to leave the country immediately.

"Those who are in the process of obtaining `exit` should utilise this opportunity and continue their efforts to get the same from Saudi authorities," the statement said.

Saudi Arabia yesterday extended the amnesty for illegal foreign workers in the country by four months, bringing relief for thousands of immigrant workers who are yet to regularise their documents.

Around 90,000 Indians had approached the embassy for regularisation of their documents as part of the `Nitaqat` programme, which ends on July 3.

The new Saudi labour law called `Nitaqat` makes it mandatory for local companies to hire one Saudi national for every 10 migrant workers.

As a result, a number of people from foreign countries who were working without valid work permits and runaways have come under the scanner.

According to the labour ministry more than 1.5 million illegal foreign workers have come forward so far to avail the amnesty. Of these, some 180,000 have left the kingdom in addition to more than 200,000 unregistered workers expelled at the start of the year under new regulations to stamp out illegal immigration.


First Published: Wednesday, July 3, 2013 - 20:43

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