Indians to be hit as Saudi Arabia cracks down illegal labour
NEW DELHI (The Statesman/ANN) - Saudi Arabia has announced a grace period of 90 days for illegal residents to return to their countries.
In what is seen as a step that will affect Indian and other expatriates working illegally in the kingdom, Saudi Arabia has announced a 90-day grace period for illegal residents to return to their countries without facing any kind of penalties. The initiative is part of the oil-rich kingdom's ‘A Nation without Violators’ campaign that was launched on Sunday by Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Naif.
Prince Naif, who is also the Deputy Prime Minister, called on violators to avail the opportunity during the amnesty period of 90 days beginning 29 March. If violators of residency and labour regulations take the opportunity to depart the country voluntarily, they will have the right to return to work legally.
During the grace period, those with expired residency permits or those who have switched jobs illegally can rectify their status or leave the country without paying any penalty.
It is after three years that the kingdom has announced the amnesty scheme for illegal workers. In 2013, more than 2.5 million visa violators had left the kingdom. Among them were about 1.5 lakh Indians. Another one lakh Indians rectified their visa status and remained in the kingdom.
There are nearly four million Indian workers in the kingdom, constituting the largest expatriate community.
Sources here said New Delhi was hopeful that the step initiated by the Saudi government would not lead to large-scale job cuts of Indians working in the kingdom.
The Saudi authorities are believed to have conveyed to foreign governments that the amnesty scheme was part of their attempts to regularise the job market. Saudi law clearly states that expatriates should work only under an Arab sponsor that brought them to the kingdom and engage only in the profession mentioned in their documents. In recent years, however, they claim they have detected many cases in which Indian and other expatriates come to the kingdom for a specific job but move on to take another to make more money, making their stay in the country illegal.
- Saudi Arabia cracks down illegal labour, Indians to be hit