Indian embassy in Saudi to process 12,000 exit papers
Dubai: The verification and delivery process for a third batch of 12,000 applications for Emergency Certificates will start at India`s Embassy in Riyadh from Monday, allowing its citizens to leave Saudi Arabia amid concerns over a new labour policy in the Gulf Kingdom.
In two earlier phases, the embassy had issued the one-time exit pass to more than 24,000 Indian workers who want to leave Saudi Arabia for good, taking advantage of the 3-month grace period announced by the Saudi King.
The embassy said Emergency Certificate applications from women and children below 18 years will be processed on a priority basis, the Saudi Gazette reported.
There has been a rush for the emergency travel documents with about 60,000 applicants looking for one, amid concerns about possible job losses after the new `Nitaqat` labour law comes into effect.
The Nitaqat law and the ongoing drive to identify workers who are overstaying in the Arab Kingdom was one of the main areas of focus during recent talks held between External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid and his Saudi counterpart.
The `Nitaqat` programme, which is meant to regularise foreign workers, makes it mandatory for local companies to hire one Saudi national for every 10 migrant workers.
Those who fail to find another job or a sponsor has to go back. As a result of this law, a number of people who were working without valid work permits and runaways have come under the scanner. Once the grace period time till July 3 ends, all those expatriates who are found Saudi Arabia without valid papers will be jailed and heavily penalised.
There has been widespread perception that the new policy will lead to denial of job opportunities for a large number of Indians working there. Over two million Indians are currently working in Saudi Arabia.
Meanwhile, Indian Ambassador Hamid Ali Rao called on Riyadh Emir Prince Khalid Bin Bandar on Tuesday and briefed him on efforts by the Indian community to utilise the concessions announced by the Saudi authorities for expatriate workers to correct their status or to leave the country without facing penal action before the July 3 deadline, the report said.
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