Indian workers are not adversely affected by Saudi Arabia’s new labour policy, the Ministry of Overseas Indians Affair has said, according to the state news agency the Press Information Bureau (PIB).
Federal Minister for Overseas Indian Affairs Vayalar Ravi gave this information to the Lower House of the Parliament Wednesday in reply to a written question on this issue.
The grace period for implementation of the ‘Nitaqat’ policy of Saudi Arabia has been extended twice, first to July 3, 2013 and then to November 3, 2013 and hence, the policy has not had any significant adverse impact on Indian workers except on those who were working there without valid papers. The grace period allows even workers without valid papers to have their status regularized, the minister told the House.
The Indian Embassy and its consulate have so far issued over 68,500 Emergency Certificates (ECs) to enable affected workers to return to India, following the strict enforcement of the policy in Saudi Arabia.
Applications for ECs continue to be received as the amnesty period has been extended up to November 3, 2013. Since the end of first amnesty period on July 3, the Indian Embassy and its Consulate have further issued over 1,500 ECs.
Similarly, 3,428 persons had been issued ECs by the Indian Missions in United Arab Emirates (UAE) when amnesty had been proclaimed from December 2012 to February 2013. During this amnesty period 7,923 Indians left UAE.
The ministry has held meetings with ministers and representatives from states that contribute major human resources to the GCC to rehabilitate the returnees under state and federal governments programmes, Vayalar Ravi said.