Mumbai: Saudi Arabia’s revised Nitaqat (or Saudisation) scheme, aimed at increasing employment opportunities for Saudi nationals, does not go well for Indian migrants. From September 2017 onwards, only a handful of organisations, which are in the ‘Platinum’ and ‘High Green’ categories, will be able to apply for new block visas for migrant employees.
In 2016 there were only 1.65 lakh emigration clearances for Saudi Arabia, a drop by 46% from 2015. Majority of the immigrants were from Uttar Pradesh, followed by West Bengal, Bihar and Kerala.
According to national sources, there were nearly 25 lakh Indians working in Saudi Arabia, In 2016. According to sources, a majority of Indian workers are blue collar workers, who work in construction and hospitality sectors. These sectors do not fall in platinum and high green category. Moreover workers already employed in companies falling in low categories cannot be transferred from one employer to another.
As reported by TOI under the Nitaqat system, that was first introduced in mid-2011, employers are divided into four categories, Platinum, Green (with three sub categories of high, medium and low), Yellow and Red. Those in Platinum have a higher proportion of Saudi nationals as employees (generally 40% or more).
TOI has quoted Saudi Gazette, an English newspaper, which cited the Saudi labour force survey results. According to survey, the number of non-Saudi employed persons for the first quarter of 2017 reached 108.5 lakh, nearly 78% of the total employed, which is 139 lakh. This report added that majority of foreign workforce comprised of Indians (30 lakh), Pakistanis (25 lakh) and Egyptians (22 lakh).