“Two of my children work in a tool factory in Saudi Arabia. They had called last month to say their jobs may not be affected,” says Syed Ahmed from Maniyar Taleem in the old city.

In Bidar, parents of young people working in the Gulf are worried over the Nitaqat system.

Nitaqat is Saudi’s new labour law that targets migrants and deports workers not employed directly by the Saudi citizens who have sponsored their visa.

“If they come back, I don’t know where they will get jobs. They might consider settling in Hyderabad or Mumbai. But they will never get the salary they got in those countries,” said Mr. Ahmed.

“I am not sure what my reaction would be if my son and son-in- law, both working in Saudi Arabia, turn up here tomorrow,” said Anwar Ali, a retired government school teacher.

Mohammad Majid, whose siblings are working near Riyadh, said he had a “vague worry” about them being laid off. “They are engineers and not labourers or unskilled workers like so many others from the district. But still, if the Nitaqat system is strictly applied, it may mean even skilled workers or professionals would be asked to leave the country in the future. The Indian economy is not doing great either; but we will need to find a way out,” he said.

For most of our young graduates, engineers or other professionals, Saudi Arabia was a dream destination that guaranteed stable jobs with good pay. But now, Saudi Arabia is battling its own problems such as high unemployment rate among local youth.

“In the coming days, it may become more difficult for our boys to go to work there. We should, therefore, realise that and begin exploring job markets within India or other countries. My children did that when they shifted to Egypt a few years ago,” said Syed Mirza, a retired government employee.

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