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92,000 emergency exit certificates issued to Indians in Saudi

July 04, 2013 20:51 IST

Indian embassy in Saudi Arabia has issued as many as 92,000 emergency exit certificates by end of the first phase of grace period for those affected by labour law 'Nitaqat', Ambassador to the Kingdom Hamid Ali Rao said on Thursday even as India was in discussion with the country to streamline the visa regime to check fraudulent contractors.

According to the Saudi Ministry of Labour, 3.5 million workers have corrected their legal status since May 10, he said, adding "estimate is that at least 25 to 30 per cent these would be Indians."

He also said that contrary to the perception that there is mass exodus of Indians in view of implementation of contentious labour law, a total of 2.89 million workers are currently there which was an additional net inflow of 10,000 since March this year.

The 'Nitaqat' programme is meant to regularise foreign workers and makes it mandatory for them to abide by work related conditions in their visa.

India was in discussion with Saudi authorities to streamline the visa regime to check fraudulent contractors, he said, asserting that a streamlined labour market in Saudi Arabia would be in the interest of the Indians in that country.

Noting that on July 2, King Abdullah announced an extension of the grace period till November 3, Rao said the embassy will continue its efforts to reach out to Indians all across Saudi Arabia.

"India does not want any illegal Indian worker in Saudi Arabia after November 3. Illegal workers after November 3 would face arrest, jail sentence, huge fines and deportation with a ban on their return to GCC countries," he said.

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