Indian workers in Saudi Arabia can regularise visa status

Dubai, May 2 (IANS) In a bid to address the problems arising out of Saudi Arabia’s new labour policy, Indian workers who have travelled to that Gulf nation legally will be allowed to regularise their visa status.

In a meeting of the India-Saudi Arabia joint panel formed to look at the issue, it was decided that Indians who have travelled to Saudi Arabia legally can register with Saudi authorities during the three-month amnesty period currently underway to have their visa status regularised, get new jobs or return to India if they chose to do so, local media reported Thursday.

Nitaqat, the new Saudi labour policy, makes it mandatory for all Saudi companies to reserve 10 percent jobs for Saudi nationals.

The meeting at the Saudi ministry of labour Wednesday was attended by Saudi deputy minister for labour affairs Ahmad S. Al-Humaidan, deputy minister for international affairs Ahmed F. Al Fahaid and deputy minister for labour relations Ziyad I. Alsaigh; the Indian side was represented by Sibi George, deputy chief of mission at the Indian embassy in Riyadh.

According to George, the meeting discussed the issue of re-employing overstaying Indian workers in Saudi Arabia by taking advantage of the facilities offered by the Saudi ministry of labour, including services of large recruiting companies.

George urged Indian workers to visit the website that is regularly accessed by Saudi companies looking for Indian workers.

The labour ministry, however, made it clear those workers who have legal cases pending against them have to settle their cases before they return to India.

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