The verification and delivery process for a third batch of 12,000 applications for Emergency Certificates will start at India’s Embassy in Riyadh from Monday, allowing its citizens to leave Saudi Arabia amid concerns over a new labour policy in the Gulf kingdom.

In two earlier phases, the embassy had issued the one-time exit pass to more than 24,000 Indian workers who want to leave Saudi Arabia for good, taking advantage of the three-month grace period announced by the Saudi King.

The embassy said Emergency Certificate applications from women and children below 18 years would be processed on a priority basis, the Saudi Gazette reported.

There has been a rush for the emergency travel documents with about 60,000 applicants looking for one, amid concerns about possible job losses after the new ‘Nitaqat’ labour law comes into effect.

New law

The Nitaqat law and the ongoing drive to identify workers who are overstaying in the Arab Kingdom was one of the main areas of focus during recent talks between External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid and his Saudi counterpart.

The ‘Nitaqat’ programme, meant to regularise foreign workers, makes it mandatory for local companies to hire one Saudi national for every 10 migrant workers.

Those who fail to find another job or a sponsor have to go back. — PTI