Saudi Arabia may soon impose a six-year cap on the residency of foreigners in the country as part of its programme to regulate the local labour market — a move likely to affect a large number of Indians working that country.

Companies hiring expatriate workers will be given five months after the implementation of the labour reforms programme to regularise their situation, the country’s Labour Minister Adel Al Faqih said.

The reforms will also help tackle the black market for employment visas to the rate of 99 per cent.

The ministry would go ahead with the programme and that there would be no leniency in its application, Mr. Al Faqih said, according to Saudi daily Al Watan.

The reforms, he said, will aim to boost employment opportunities for Saudis and increasing competitive edge among them.

Gulf countries have raised this issue on several occasions but have had limited success in implementing them.

The number of Indian workers in Saudi Arabia is likely to exceed two million by year’s end.

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