The Saudi Arabian government has announced a new concession to the expatriates who are affected by the new Nitaqat (naturalisation) law to be enforced in the kingdom.

The announcement would greatly benefit a large number of Indian expatriates, over one lakh of them, said Minister of State for External Affairs E. Ahamed on Friday.

Talking to The Hindu from Chennai, the Minister said, according to his information received from the Indian embassy in Riyadh, those expatriates who were staying illegally/overstayed could return to homeland without facing penal action. The cut-off date for this would be April 6, 2013 (ie, those who were found to be staying illegally on or prior to that date).

Another offer

He added the Saudi kingdom also made it clear that if the expatriates, who have to return to the homeland jobless, were able to succeed in getting a new job/sponsor, they could continue to stay there without facing any hardship.

A number of companies/corporate houses were approaching the Indian Embassy in the kingdom offering jobs/sponsorship to the jobless Indian expatriates, the embassy officials told him, Mr. Ahamed said.

Based on the request made by India, the kingdom had already deferred enforcement of Nitaqat by three months from April 1.

Informed sources here said the problem for Saudi employers in implementing Nitaqat was that they would have to reserve 10 per cent jobs for the locals and give them a minimum of 3,000 Riyals (one Riyal is equal to about Rs.14.50) a month as salary.