Saudi Arabia has set up a crisis management group to address difficulties being faced by thousands of laid-off Indian workers while a separate panel has been appointed to look into their claims relating to unpaid wages.
The “humanitarian issue” is being handled with “utmost care” and consideration by the Saudi Government which conveyed to India that it has speeded up the exit of workers who wish to return home, External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Vikas Swarup said.
He said a little more time will be required to have full clarity on how many Indians want to come home and how many would like to remain in Saudi Arabia to pursue employment with other companies etc.
Swarup categorised the problems being faced by Indian workers into four segments such as wage claims, relocation, repatriation and conditions of the Indians living in various labour camps.
Minister of State for External Affairs V K Singh had travelled to Saudi Arabia on Wednesday and held extensive talks with Saudi Labour Minister Mufrej Al Haqbani who promised urgent action to resolve the problems of around 7,000 Indians.
“Earlier, in accordance to Saudi Arabian law, individual complaints used to go to labour courts. Now, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of labour has set up a committee to look into the claims of the workers.
“A Crisis Management Goroup has also been set up by the Ministry of Labour to settle all issues related to Indian workers,” Swarup said adding the Ministry of labour will now appoint a lawyer and we will know the exact procedure regarding this in the next 2-3 days.
On the issue of repatriation of the Indians, he said Saudi government has conveyed to India that they will make necessary arrangements for those who want to return to India.
The workers who want to leave Saudi Arabia can authorise the Indian consulate in Jeddah to follow up on their cases in labour courts and proceed on exit.
“Our Consulate has already given the list of workers willing to come back to India and those seeking transfer to Saudi authorities. As you can see, due to our excellent relationship with Saudi Arabia and efforts made at the highest level, things are in control and this humanitarian issue is being handled with utmost care and consideration,” said Swarup.
The Saudi government also agreed to allow transfer of Indian employees, who have lost their jobs, to any other company within Saudi Arabia.