Saudi govt announces amnesty for illegal migrant workers
KATHMANDU, Feb 25: The Saudi government has decided to grant amnesty to illegal foreign workers, providing them opportunity to leave the desert kingdom without getting panelized.
Saudi Labor Minister Adel Fakeih announced the plan under which undocumented migrant workers, a significant number of Nepalis are among them, can leave the Kingdom on exit-only visas without paying any penalty.
The ´arabnews.com´, a Saudi news portal, stated that Fekeih made the decision public while opening a forum of Saudization committees at regional governorates on Sunday.
The forum was aimed at tackling the issue of excess foreign workers and violators of local laws in a bid to clean up the local labor market.
Under the Saudization, a drive to generate employment for locals by replacing migrants, Saudi government has announced not to grant hiring permits to the companies that fall under Red Category, a group that represents companies that hire Saudi nationals less than 30 percent of the total workforce.
Saudi Interior Ministry has been supporting the Labor Ministry Officials for effectively enforcing Saudization drive that aims to create job opportunities for the increasing number of Saudi graduates.
“The forum discussed how to track undocumented workers, punishments to be imposed on them and how to activate regional Saudization committees,” said the online portal. There are an estimated eight million foreign workers in the Kingdom.
Responding to the public announcement by Saudi Labor Minister, Nepalese Embassy in Riyadh has sought the details of amnesty with Saudi officials.
“We have asked for detailed information from Saudi Labor Ministry Officials about the nature of the offer and those who are likely to benefit from the move,” Krishna Dawadi, Labor Attaché for Saudi Arabia told Republica by phone on Monday.
According to him, Nepali workers become illegal in the Saudi mainly due to the change of employer and visa overstay, among others. Dawadi said the embassy does not have the data suggesting the exact number of illegal Nepali migrants in Saudi Arabia. “However, a significant number of Nepali undocumented workers are sure to benefit from the scheme,” added Dawadi.