Saudi to send stranded Indian workers back at its expense

The stranded workers have been allowed to take up re-employment, should other companies find them suitable. Before leaving, they will register unpaid salary claims with the Saudi labour office. Photograph:( Others )

PTI New Delhi, India Aug 04, 2016, 09.46 AM (IST)
In a diplomatic victory for India, Saudi Arabia has agreed to give exit visas to hundreds of jobless Indian workers there and will send them back home at its own expense.

Making a suo motu statement in Indian parliament's upper house, foreign minister Sushma Swaraj said Saudi Arabia has also agreed to provide free medical facility and food to the Indian workers stranded in camps and also allow those eligible to seek re-employment with other companies.

Swaraj said her deputy and minister of state for foreign affairs V K Singh was camping in Saudi Arabia since Tuesday evening and will return after formalising the arrangements for the Indian workers.

"I am happy to inform that the Saudi ruler has taken note of the plight of Indian workers. Saudi King has instructed the officials to resolve the issue in two days," she said.

Saudi Arabia, Swaraj said, has agreed to the Indian government's request to grant exit visas to the stranded worker. It has also offered to transport the workers to India. "Government of India will not have to spend a penny on that," she said.

The nation has also permitted workers to take re-employment if other companies find them suitable, she said, adding that before departing, the Indian workers will register their claims of unpaid salaries and other dues with the labour office of Saudi Arabia.

Indian embassy in Riyadh will follow up with the Saudi Arabia's labour office to get all the dues of workers cleared, she said.

Swaraj said the Saudi ruler has also issued orders to provide free medical and food to Indian workers lodged in the camps apart from all civic amenities.

Thanking the Saudi ruler, she said this was possible because of the personal and diplomatic relationship maintained by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his recent visit to Islamic nation.

Leader of the opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad complimented the Indian and the Saudi governments for reaching a solution on the issue.