Amid reports of exploitation of Indian workers by unscrupulous agents and employers in Saudi Arabia, Riyadh on Thursday asked New Delhi to raise awareness among its workers about their rights and obligations before they arrive in Saudi Arabia for work.
“We urge India to raise the awareness of its workers before they leave the country for Saudi Arabia, to disseminate information to the workers about what are their obligations and rights,” Saudi Labour Minister Abdulwahed K Al-Humaid told PTI here.
He was in Washington to attend the first-ever meeting of the Labour and Employment Ministers of the G-20 countries. The two-day conference concluded on Wednesday.
The Minister said some workers were exploited because they did not know their rights and also blamed Indian agencies that hired these people for being party to the exploitation.
“Before workers come to Saudi Arabia, they sign a contract with the Indian agencies. Agencies give them false information. They promise them a certain salary and sign a different contract with employer. So, some of the disputes arose because we have two contracts.”
“Whenever I meet Ambassadors from the workers' home country, I urge them to make their workers aware of their rights before they come to Saudi Arabia.” He said that his Ministry prints brochures in local languages and request embassies in Saudi Arabia to distribute them among their people before they leave for Saudi Arabia.
“We do not want them to be subject to exploitation due to lack of information or misunderstanding. Because if I am an owner of a factory I sign a contract that the salary, for example, is 1,000 Riyal, but the Indian workers sign another contract with the Indian agency stating that the salary is 2,000 Riyal.”
“We have more than two million Indian workers,” he said, adding that this would be mutually beneficial for both the countries.
“On one hand Indian workers are contributing to the economic development of Saudi Arabia and we appreciate that. On the other, we are offering job opportunities to two million Indian people. Therefore, we are benefiting the Indian economy and relieving the unemployment problem in India.”