Riyadh- Saudi Labor Minister Mufarrej al-Haqbani expressed Saudi readiness to cover all expenditures of Indian labor workers wishing to go back home, in addition to the provision of legal aid to those in pursuit of legal justice against companies responsible for holding back salaries or other damages.
India’s minister of state for external affairs, V.K. Singh, said he had a “very good meeting” with Minister Haqbani during which they discussed the plight of the workers.
Saudi Arabia took steps on Wednesday to help around 2,500 Indian workers stranded without money in the kingdom after a plunge in oil prices sparked construction layoffs.
After meeting with Minister Singh, Minister Haqabani denounced the layoffs and that the incident is indeed regrettable and unacceptable. The Saudi Minister confirmed that the unwarranted layoffs were only at a single company and that regulatory measures will be taken against the firm.
Haqabani expressed the deep Saudi appreciation for Indian labor in the Kingdom.
Singh said on Twitter that the Saudi government had taken “immediate action to ensure that all camps where Indian workers were staying are provided facilities like medical, food, hygiene and sanitation”.
The government was also “providing free passage to all those who want to go back to India,” he added.
Speaking to reporters in Jeddah, Singh added: “All the people who want to go back can go back at the expense of the government of Saudi Arabia.”
Riyadh would also honor workers’ claims against companies that had defaulted on payments and had agreed to allow workers to transfer to other companies in the kingdom, he said.
Under the kafala system, applied on foreign workers in Gulf countries, most employees are restricted from moving to a new job without their boss’s consent before their contracts end, leaving many trapped.
Moreover, Indian Consul General Mohammed Noor Rahman Sheikh, speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper, said that Indian labor in Saudi Arabia is substantially better that it was before.