'Nitaqat in Saudi Arabia had no major impact on Indian workers'

Last Updated: Wed, Dec 11, 2013 13:43 hrs

The government on Wednesday said the "nitaqat" implemented by Saudi Arabia to streamline their labour market and identify illegal workers did not have any any significant adverse impact on India workers owing to the extension of grace period twice.

"The grace period has been extended twice — first up to July 3, 2013 and second up to November 3 this year. The policy has not had any significant adverse impact on Indian workers in Saudi Arabia except on those who were working there without proper valid documents," overseas Indian affairs minister Vayalar Ravi told Lok Sabha.

He said, "The grace period allows even workers without valid papers to have their status regularized".

Giving details, Ravi said that more than 1.4 million Indians availed concessions during the grace period.

"This includes 4,34,667 Indians who transferred their services to other firms, that are nitaqat complaint. Additionally 4,81,233 changed their jobs or professions. Apart from this, over 4,70,000 Indians got their licenses or job permits renewed," Ravi said.

He informed the Lok Sabha that during the grace period, Riyadh received 66,729 applications for issue of emergency certificates (EC) out of which 41,283 ECs were issued. Similarly 26,600 applications were received in the Consulate of Jeddah out which 23,486 EC were issued.

"The number of Indians who left on final exit availing the grace period (as on November 27, 2013) is 1,41,301. They left without facing any penal action and with no ban on their return to Saudi Arabia on a new visa," said Ravi.

As per details given by Ravi, around 23,541 and 12,456 application of ECs were received from Uttar Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh in Indian embassy, Riyadh out of which 15,191 and 7607 ECs were actually issued respectively.

At the Consulate General of India in Jeddah too, EC applications were the highest from Uttar Pradesh as 12,423 applications were received and 11168 were issued, the minister said.

He added that the Indian missions remained in regular touch with the host government as well as emigrants from redressal of grievances of the workers.

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