Kerala thanks Saudi Arabia for giving migrants relief

Thiruvananthapuram, July 2 (IANS) The Kerala government Tuesday expressed its gratitude to the Saudi government for extending, till Nov 4, its deadline for all expatriate workers to get their papers regularized for legally staying in the kingdom.

The deadline was to expire Wednesday.

Diaspora Minister K.C.Joseph told IANS that this news “made all of us so happy and we are hugely thankful to the Saudi government”.

“The Indian embassy (in Riyadh) was overloaded with the last minute work of getting all the papers ready and this extension has come as a blessing for all,” he said.

He said that even though the number of Indians who have now got ready to leave is 70,000, the number of Keralites among them is only around 7,000.

“The biggest advantage overall if one looks into what has happened in Saudi Arabia is that this was an opportunity for all people who did not have the required papers to get them re-validated and as a result, many of our people there got back their passports from their earlier Saudi employers. Many passports were deposited at the Indian embassy,” added Joseph.

Early this year, the Saudi administration decided to implement the Nitaqat or Saudisation policy that makes it mandatory for all Saudi companies to reserve 10 percent of jobs for Saudi nationals.

“We have now received queries from the Indian embassy in Saudi Arabia for verification of the identities of 51 Keralites who, for several years, have been forced to stay there as they had no documents with them. We have handed over the verification to the respective collectors and once we report back to the embassy, they will get their new passports,” said Joseph.

He also thanked the numerous companies in Saudi Arabia which decided to conduct a job fair for all those whose papers have been rectified to give them a chance for a new job.

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