Dubai, May 4 (PTI): Indian workers who have travelled to Saudi Arabia legally will be allowed to regularise their visa status, get new jobs or to return home if they register voluntarily with the Saudi authorities during the three months grace period announced by the Kingdom, according to officials.
This was among the issues discussed at the Joint Group meeting held this week at the Saudi Ministry of Labour. The group will continue their discussions next week, said a statement issued from the Indian embassy in Riyadh.
The Joint Group was set up during the discussions between Saudi Labour Minister Adel Fakeih and Indian delegation led by Overseas Affairs Minister Vayalar Ravi in Jeddah on 28 April.
The Group is mandated to discuss all issues pertaining to the welfare of the Indian community in Saudi Arabia including immediate issues pertaining to implementation of Nitaqat programme and overstaying Indian workers.
The ‘Nitaqat’ law makes it mandatory for local firms to hire one Saudi national for every 10 migrant workers. There has been widespread perception that the new policy will lead to denial of job opportunities for a large number of Indians.
Over two million Indians are currently working in Saudi Arabia. The Saudi government was implementing the Nitaqat law to cut unemployment in the country.
The Joint Group also discussed re-employment of those overstaying Indian workers in Saudi by availing the facilities offered by the Ministry of Labour including services of the newly set up mega-recruiting companies, the statement said.
It asked all Indians affected by the Nitaqat programme and those overstaying in Saudi Arabia to register their names at the Labour Ministry website www.redyellow.com.sa.
Saudi’s Ministry of Labour will take measures aimed at helping the expatriate workers to regularise their stay in the kingdom or to return to their countries.
Those workers volunteering to utilize the three months grace period and have no legal issues pending against them will not be blacklisted and would be allowed to return to Saudi Arabia with appropriate visas. They also need not go through deportation centers.
The Ministry of Labour informed that those who have legal cases against them would need to settle such cases before their return to India. However, those who have legal cases against them could also change their jobs to new employers if they register voluntarily with the Ministry. The details are currently being worked out.
India last week conveyed its concerns to Saudi Arabia over possible job loss to a large number of Indians in the Kingdom due to its new labour law.