Expatriates, particularly from India, who are worried about losing their jobs when Saudi Arabia strictly enforces the “Nitaqat” (naturalisation) law, have got a temporary relief. Riyadh has informed New Delhi that the enforcement has been deferred by three months.
Minister of State for External Affairs E. Ahamed told TheHindu from Malappuram on Saturday that the Indian government was informed that Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah had given those who had violated residence and labour laws of the country three months time. After that period, the laws would be implemented strictly, the King had instructed.
“This is a very positive response from the Saudi government to the principled diplomatic measures taken by us in the interest of Indian expatriates,” Mr. Ahamed said. Though the decision to implement “Nitaqat” was purely an internal matter, taken to ensure job opportunities for Saudi nationals, the decision to defer its enforcement would give expatriates a breather to think what to do next. About the impending visit of an Indian delegation to Riyadh to hold talks on the expatriates issue, the Minister said the dates would be finalised shortly as the Labour Minister of that country was on tour.
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 3000 Riyals (one Riyal is equal to about Rs.14.50) a month as salary. Expatriate workforce was willing to work for 900 or 1000 Saudi Riyals a month.