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Nitaqat law: Emergency exit papers of 18,000 Indians processed

Dubai, May 9
About 18,000 Indian workers in Saudi Arabia, who had applied for emergency exit papers amid concerns about possible job losses after a new labour law, have got their travel documents processed.

The 'Nitaqat' law makes it mandatory for local companies to hire one Saudi national for every 10 migrant workers. There has been widespread perception that the new policy will lead to denial of job opportunities for the over two million Indians working there. The Saudi government is implementing the Nitaqat law to cut unemployment in the country.

An estimated 18,000 Indian workers, out of about 60,000 applicants, have had their emergency travel documents processed, an Indian Embassy official was quoted as saying by the Arab News.

Sibi George, deputy chief of the mission, was responding to figures released in the Indian Parliament yesterday by Overseas Affairs Minister Vayalar Ravi.

"Actually this number of 18,000 represents those whose cases have been processed by the Indian diplomatic missions in Saudi Arabia," George said. He said over 60,000 Indian workers are seeking emergency travel documents. He added that many workers from other countries are also seeking emergency travel documents.

Sharif Alam, an Indian community leader, said, "Indian workers have been approaching the embassy and the Jeddah-based consulate on a daily basis for travel documents." He said centers across the Kingdom are helping workers submit their applications. A delegation led by Ravi visited the Kingdom two weeks ago to raise concerns about the country's Nitaqat programme. PTI

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