With 1.34 lakh Indian workers already returning to the homeland, Government is closely watching the situation in Saudi Arabia which is targeting illegal foreigners under its new labour policy, Overseas Indian Affairs Minister Vayalar Ravi on Tuesday said.
Asked about the drive in Saudi Arabia under which foreigners who have not corrected labour and residency status under its new labour policy — Nitaqat — are being deported, Ravi said that till now no incident of harassment of Indian nationals has been reported.
“The issue in Saudi Arabia has already been taken up. So far they have not entered into any house for checking. Saudi Arabian government has given specific instructions not to harass people but to check properly and not enter any house,” Mr. Ravi told reporters at the sidelines of an event.
He said those Indians who are coming back as they are unable to stay there, are also given assistance by the ministry. “1.34 lakh Indians have already come back from Saudi Arabia,” Mr. Ravi said.
He said India is closely watching the situation and in touch with various associations as well. The embassy is very actively assisting in case of any problem, he added.
Saudi Arabia has launched a strict inspection campaign to target illegal foreign workers after the seven-month grace period ended on Sunday. The campaign is expected to continue throughout the year and there is no time limit set for it.
Asked if the move will adversely effect India’s remittances, Mr. Ravi said that a delegation from the ministry has already gone to Saudi Arabia and has discussed the issue.
“I was in touch with them. They went in April and also gave suggestions. That is why there are no complaints of harassment to Indians being made. They are checking, listing and people are coming back. This is going on,” said Mr. Ravi.
He said the number of Indians there has gone up from 2.4 million to 2.8 million. “But there are some people without proper documents and they will send them back. My ministry is in touch with the ambassador and we are providing all the help they want.”
Asked whether Indians are being targeted abroad, Mr. Ravi said, “One cannot make such a general statement.
“There will be some issues here and there, some in the Gulf countries as the employment question comes in. Indians are not targeted and that is why no such serious complains have come to us.”