Hamid Ali Rao, Ambassador of India to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, has written a note of advisory to Indians in Saudi Arabia. The full text is below:
We are in the middle of a major exercise to help every Indian national in Saudi Arabia to utilise fully the concessions that the Government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia announced recently to correct the legal status of expatriate workers in Saudi Arabia.
The announcement of a series of concessions for expatriate workers to correct their resident and work permit status or to return to their country without penal action is a great opportunity for us to help our fellow Indians in distress. The Embassy expresses its sincere gratitude to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques His Majesty King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud for the announcement of these concessions and for giving three months grace period for expatriates to correct their status or to leave the country without facing penal action. I appreciate your registering with the Embassy in Riyadh and the Consulate in Jeddah to do non-remunerative free voluntary service. We will continue to add names to the list of volunteers as we get more names. We are determined to work with you to make this mission a success. I also express my sincere gratitude to the media for their constructive reporting and also for their wholehearted efforts in spreading the messages from the Embassy across to all the Indians resident in Saudi Arabia. This is a mission in progress. Together we will make it succeed.
To begin with, I would like all Indian volunteers to go through a presentation that the Saudi Ministry of Labour made to the Ambassadors on May 11, 2013. A copy of the presentation is available at www.indianembassy.org.sa and www.cgijeddah.com. This presentation details the way forward on most of the issues that our fellow Indians in distress face today. It also explains action to be taken in each of the categories of workers for correcting their legal status, get new jobs or to return to India. Any clarifications on this could be sought from the Embassy of India in Riyadh or the Consulate in Jeddah helpdesk or through email to email@example.com a copy to firstname.lastname@example.org or to email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com. Please also regularly check Embassy of India and Consulate General of India’s website and their Facebook page for updates. Embassy and Consulate may not be able to reply to all mails that it gets. But one can be rest assured that every mail is taken note of. The personnel of the Embassy in Riyadh and Consulate in Jeddah would try to remain in touch with you and also endeavour to visit you in your cities in coming weeks. But as a diplomatic mission, the Embassy in Riyadh and the Consulate in Jeddah, have constraints. Both are bound to follow diplomatic norms and practices and respect the rules and laws of the host country. The Embassy in Riyadh and the Consulate in Jeddah would not do anything that violates the rules and laws of Saudi Arabia.
It is important to ensure that all the services that the Indian volunteers extend should be absolutely free. No fee should be charged for any services. The Embassy in Riyadh and Consulate in Jeddah have not authorised anyone to collect money. If you hear any volunteer or social worker charging any fee or money for their services from any one please bring this matter immediately to the attention of the Embassy or the Consulate. This may be communicated to firstname.lastname@example.org a copy to email@example.com or to firstname.lastname@example.org with a copy to email@example.com. Such persons will face action against them.
The Embassy in Riyadh and the Consulate in Jeddah have strengthened its 24 hour helpdesk with more people and more telephone lines. The telephone lines are 01 4884697, 01 4881982, 0501699879, 0501700106, 0501699895, 0501699894. Consulate General of India, Jeddah help line numbers are 02-2611483, 02-2614093, 0596810574.
Saudi authorities continue to upgrade the services that are being offered by them. This includes e-services by Ministry of Labour to change the profession or check your status, and more services which are expected in coming days. The Embassy in Riyadh and the Consulate in Jeddah will issue regular updates as they receive more information from the Saudi authorities on the various services. Saudi authorities have informed the Embassy that the Labour Offices across the Kingdom and Jawazat officers would be working overtime in coming weeks. We need to utilise these services. A list of major labour offices in Saudi Arabia along with the telephone numbers are uploaded on the Embassy, as well as the Consulate, website. Our volunteers could regularly visit the Labour offices and Jawazat offices in your cities and help the Indians who need assistance to seek transfer to new employer, change their profession or getting an exit.
Our main objective is to reach out to each and every Indian in every remote location of Saudi Arabia and convey to them the importance of utilising the concessions announced by the Saudi authorities during the grace period which ends on July 3, 2013. Our motto should be ‘No Indian is left uninformed in Saudi Arabia’. Saudi Arabia is a big country with Indians spread across all over the country. We need to reach out to every place where Indians are present. We need to convey to every Indian present at small business houses, labour camps, supermarkets, grocery shops, restaurants, saloons, market places, farms etc on the concessions offered by the Government of Saudi Arabia. We need to also help our brothers and sisters in jails and deportation centres as well. Our volunteers need to help our brothers and sisters to overcome the constraints of language. All these have to be by respecting and obeying the Saudi laws and regulations. No one should violate any Saudi laws under any circumstances. We need to be always thankful to every Saudi official for the humanitarian approach the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia adopted in permitting those violating Saudi laws to correct their status or return to their homeland without any penal action.
India has all categories of its citizens in this country, from domestic workers to top businessmen to super scientists. Many of the Indian workers in Saudi Arabia may not be aware of their legal status. They may be working here for years believing that their Iqama or work permit is valid. They need to be told to check their status and rectify their status if required. At least some of our brothers here need our help in understanding the issues and utilising the available concessions during the grace period. Many of our people are in a position to help their brothers and sisters in need. I urge all Indians who are in a position to help others to come forward and offer their assistance to the Embassy in Riyadh and the Consulate in Jeddah and to the Indians in need.
The main strength of the Indian expatriate community in Saudi Arabia is our peace loving and hard working nature. We are the most preferred community for Saudis at all levels for our hard work, discipline and law abiding nature. The volunteers should ensure that every Indian in Saudi Arabia continues to respect and obey Saudi laws and regulations and at no stage violate any Saudi laws. We should do everything to preserve and enhance this image well earned over decades and nothing which would adversely affect it. This is in your interest as well as those who continue to work here.
India has very strong bilateral relations with Saudi Arabia. This relationship is further strengthened through regular exchanges at high levels. The visit of the Custodian of Two Holy Mosques His Majesty King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud to India in January 2006 and the visit of Hon’ble Prime Minister of India Dr. Manmohan Singh to Saudi Arabia in February 2010 have led to both countries entering in a strategic partnership which covers cooperation in political, economic, defence and security areas. Our strategic partnership with Saudi Arabia is something we value greatly and want to strengthen it at all levels. We maintain a very high level of engagement with the leadership of this country. We will have more high level visits in coming weeks and months. All that we do in this country should be aimed at further strengthening our bilateral relationship with this country and none of our actions should be against this spirit.
The Embassy remains in constant touch with the authorities in Saudi Arabia on issues of importance to the Indian community. All issues pertaining to the welfare of the community have been brought to the notice of the Saudi authorities during our regular meetings. Regular meetings have been held with the senior officials of Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Labour and Interior. The Embassy will continue to remain in touch with these Ministries for any follow up. During the grace period the Embassy, as well as the Consulate, has increased its working hours till 8.30 PM including Thursdays. The Embassy has also been seeking legal advice from reputed legal firms in Saudi Arabia to understand the labour laws of this country. It has recently short listed four legal firms for consultations and providing initial legal assistance on a case to case basis for Indians in Saudi Arabia.
Embassy and Consulate have been approached by various Indian and Saudi companies offering jobs for Indian workers. The Embassy and the Consulate regularly update the list of such companies in its website. All volunteers are urged to regularly visit the website to see this list. The volunteers may help those Indians in need to get in touch with these companies to avail the job opportunities offered by them. The Embassy has also been approached by mega recruiting companies recently set up with the license of Ministry of Labour offering jobs to Indian workers. Their details are also published at the Embassy of India, as well as the Consulate, website. The volunteers may help those Indians in need to get in touch with these mega-recruiting companies to avail the job opportunities offered by them. Please also help the job seekers to verify the offers to ensure that they meet the Saudi rules and regulations and that the interests of the applicants are protected. The Embassy in Riyadh and Consulate in Jeddah cannot and will not get itself involved directly in the terms of employment contracts as it is a private matter between the employers and employees.
We have only limited time. Those who do not rectify their status or leave the country during the grace period will face arrest, jail sentence and huge fines before their deportation from Saudi Arabia. Saudi authorities have clearly told us that after the grace period, i.e. 3rd July 2013, the Ministry of Interior will start strict search to arrest all those who violate Saudi rules and laws.
The concessions announced by the Government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on May 10 cover residence and work permit violations which took place before April 6, 2013. It is important to ensure that no further violations by Indians take place under any circumstances. Any Indian planning to travel to Saudi Arabia for employment should ensure that the visas on which he travels to Saudi Arabia does not violate any rules of this country. There is no such thing called free-visas. It is also important to ensure that the firm which sponsors them meets all the laws and regulations of Saudi Arabia. The volunteers also need to generate awareness in India on the new rules and laws in Saudi Arabia.
Thank You, Jai Hind.