Even as Saudi Arabia announced a delay in the implementation of its Nitaqat programme, Overseas Indian Affairs Minister Vayalar Ravi asked the nine state governments to prepare a rehabilitation programme for the NRIs who may come back after losing their jobs in the Kingdom.
The meeting, convened by Ravi here, was attended by ministers from Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh, while Kerala, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Rajasthan, Karnataka and Punjab were represented by senior officials. He told reporters that “Saudi Government’s decision to delay the Nitaqat programme has given us breathing space”.
“The states have been told to plan the rehabilitation for the people who may come back,” he added. Under the Nitaqat programme, local companies will hire one Saudi national for every 10 expatriate workers.
There had been a lot of expectation that this would lead to an exodus of workers, but so far there had no such mass migration due to denial of job opportunities.
There are over two million Indians working in Saudi Arabia. Around 3,500 Indian workers have approached the Indian Embassy in Riyadh to get an emergency certificate to leave the country as their passports were submitted with their sponsors. The minister said that it was up to the states to provide the returning workers with financial assistance.