Overseas Indian Affairs Minister Vayalar Ravi on Thursday said there was no reason to panic over the “Nitaqat law” being implemented by the Saudi Arabian government. The deadline for implementing the new labour law — which seeks to reserve 10 per cent jobs for locals -- ended on Wednesday.
The law is to be implemented mostly in small and medium industrial establishments.
Mr. Ravi said he had asked the Ambassador to Saudi Arabia to take up the issue with Riyadh and its Labour Ministry and ensure that there would be no job loss for Indians on a mass scale.
He pointed out that some companies in Saudi Arabia had informed the non-local employees about the plans to implement Nitaqat as early as three months back.
“Our aim is to protect the employment of the Indian expatriates there and we will do everything possible in this regard,” Mr. Ravi said, adding that so far no one had approached the Indian embassy in that country about losing their job.
Among the Indians working in the Kingdom, most of whom are low- and semi-skilled labourers, at least 5.7 lakh are believed to be from Kerala.
Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy too has requested Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to urge Saudi Arabia to take a liberal approach in its implementation of the law.
In his letter to Dr. Singh, Mr. Chandy said that if the Saudi authorities could be persuaded to postpone the enforcement of Nitaqat, it would give expatriates some breathing space and avoid immediate repercussions.