Saudi offers to fly home stranded Indian expats and chase employer for lost wages

Saudi Arabia has offered to fly home Indians who have been stranded in the country without pay. Saudi Arabia’s labour minister, Mufrej Al Haqbani, with India’s minister of state for external affairs, V K Singh at a joint press conference held in Jeddah yesterday said that he had been “directed by the custodian of the […]

Saudi Arabia has offered to fly home Indians who have been stranded in the country without pay.

Saudi Arabia’s labour minister, Mufrej Al Haqbani, with India’s minister of state for external affairs, V K Singh at a joint press conference held in Jeddah yesterday said that he had been “directed by the custodian of the two holy mosques [King Salman bin Abdulaziz] to take all of the measures” necessary to solve a crisis that has been caused by workers going for several months without pay.

Mr Al Haqbani said that the issue was confined to “just one company” that has accepted it has made a mistake. He did not name the company.

He said that the Kingdom would also hire lawyers to pursue workers’ claims for wages owed to them by the company even if they decide to return home, and that those who wish to remain in Saudi Arabia were free to transfer their visa to another employer.

Mr Singh said that the Saudi Arabian government “have taken adequate measures” to make sure that workers were taken care of, and that Indian embassy officials were compiling lists to identify which workers wanted to return home before making transport arrangements with the Saudi government.

He also argued that only a fraction of Indians working in the Kingdom had been affected.

“There are three million people from India. The problem is confined to a very small number,” he said.

“We will also tell the International Labour Organisation that things are not the way that they are perceiving it to be. We have got total cooperation from the government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.”

Earlier this week, the Philippine government’s Overseas Workers Welfare Administration announced that it would provide grants to Filipino workers from nine contracting companies operating in Saudi Arabia whose workers have gone without either pay or end-of-service benefits.

mfahy@thenational.ae

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Source: Business

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