The Indian embassy in Saudi Arabia is collecting details of thousands of workers from the country laid off by their employers there, ahead of MoS External Affairs V K Singh’s visit there to asses the situation and finalise modalities to bring back those wanting to return home.
Currently a total of 7,700 affected Indian workers are living in 20 camps and the embassy is in the process of collecting information about others residing in different parts of Saudi Arabia. Singh is leaving for Jeddah tonight via Dubai and MEA Spokesperson Vikas Swarup said his on-ground assessment will determine future course of action.
Earlier today, Singh’s ministerial colleague in the MEA M J Akbar, who looks after issues relating to the Gulf region, met Saudi Ambassador Saud bin Mohammed Al Sati and discussed the difficulties being faced by Indians who have lost their jobs.
“Had fruitful discussions with Saudi Ambassador to India Dr. Saud bin Mohammed Al Sati on all bilateral issues. “Glad to receive support and assurances from Saudi government to resolve all outstanding issues, including that of our Indian labourers,” MoS in the MEA Akbar said in a series of tweets.
Thousands of Indian workers have lost their jobs due to slowdown in Saudi economy, triggered by low oil prices and cut in spending by government of that country. The Indian mission has provided food to the Indians who cannot buy it.
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj had said yesterday that all affected Indians will be brought back. A team from the Indian embassy had yesterday met Saudi labour officials to complete procedures relating to the protection of legal dues of the workers once they have departed from the country.
Swarup said the Indian embassy in Riyadh convened a meeting of community social workers and volunteers yesterday, where the Ambassador sought their help in collecting information about the affected workers.
They were provided a proforma on which the requisite information is to be submitted to the embassy. The government has requested the Saudi authorities to give the unemployed Indian workers exit visas without NoC from employers and also urged it to clear the dues of workers who have not been paid for months, whenever they settle the accounts with the companies concerned.