Embassy opens special counter as grace period ends on November 3

Nearly 90,000 Indians have returned from Saudi Arabia so far during the grace period granted by the Kingdom for undocumented workers under its Nitaqat rules, say officials of the Indian Embassy in Riyadh.

The four-month grace period, granted by King Abdulla bin Abdulaziz Al Saud in July, ends on November 3.

Official registries at the Calicut, Cochin and Thiruvananthapuram airports and a related online facility show that 13,048 of the returnees are from the State, 70 per cent of them from north Kerala. About 20 per cent of the 84 lakh workers in Saudi Arabia are Indians, half of them Keralites.

The Embassy, on Monday, urged Indian nationals in Saudi Arabia to correct their legal status before the grace period ends. Many Indians have made use of the concessions given by the Saudi authorities and corrected their legal status or obtained final exits and left the country, without facing any penal action.

“The Embassy officials deployed at the Tarheel [special counters] have been assisting Indian workers to correct their status or assist them in getting such final exits from the beginning of the grace period,” officials said.

They said that some workers were not in possession of the required documents (original passport and Iqama). Some others did not have their fingerprint records.

All undocumented Indian nationals who have not corrected their status or have not processed their cases for final exit at the Tarheel have been urged to register with the Embassy through volunteers registered with it.

A special registration counter will work in the Embassy between 9.30 a.m. and 1 p.m. from October 12 to 14. For those outside Riyadh, the details in the prescribed format can be forwarded to the First Secretary (Community Welfare) on wel.riyadh@mea.gov.in.

Officials said those Indian nationals who did not posses any documents whatsoever should register themselves with the Embassy.

The drive aims to compile a database of such Indians and to know their specific problems to explore the possibility of finding a solution for them within Saudi rules and regulations.

While the Embassy will take up the problems with the local authorities, the workers cannot be assured of a solution, since Saudi authorities have to take a decision, the officials said.

Several social groups and companies have chartered flights to fly home undocumented workers.

Some are providing employment to workers in firms run by non-resident Keralites in Saudi Arabia or elsewhere in West Asia.

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