60,000 Indians register at Indian missions in Saudi Arabia

Dubai, April 29 (IANS) Around 60,000 Indian workers have registered in the Indian embassy in Riyadh and the consulate general in Jeddah in the wake of the new Saudi labour policy, according to India’s Minister for Overseas Indian Affairs Vayalar Ravi.

These people have been rushing to take advantage of an amnesty scheme being offered by the country’s ruler King Abdullah, the Saudi Gazette reported Monday.

The new policy, called Nitaqat, makes it mandatory for all Saudi companies to reserve 10 percent of jobs for Saudi nationals.

According to Ravi, who was attending an Indian community reception hosted by India’s consul general Faiz Ahmed Kiwai at the Indian consulate in Jeddah Sunday evening, his ministry will meet the expenses for hiring temporary staff to overcome the crisis created by the huge turnout of Indian workers who want to go home.

“We are also interacting with the community leaders and will apprise the prime minister of India about the real situation arising out of the Nitaqat implementation and the ideal steps to be taken in this regard,” he was quoted as saying.

However, the report said that, in a press conference earlier in the day, the minister did not answer a question as to whether these workers will be provided with air tickets.

Indian Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Hamid Ali Rao urged Indian workers to take advantage of the amnesty scheme and either rectify their status in the kingdom or return home.

There are around 1.8 million expatriate Indians in that Gulf nation.

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