VK Singh visits SA to help laid-off Indian workers

New Delhi: Minister of State for External Affairs VK Singh has again gone to Saudi Arabia to help thousands of laid-off Indian workers either to return to India or seek alternative employment in the Gulf nation which is faced with severe economic slowdown that has forced companies to retrench work force.

External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Vikas Swarup said that the purpose of VK Singh’s visit was to resolve issues being faced by Indian workers wanting to come back home or find alternative employment in Saudi Arabia.

Indians employed with Saudi Oger, Saudi-bin Laden and Saad Group are facing major difficulties and they have no other option but to return to India.

“No other option is available to Indian workers belonging to these three companies. MoS VK Singh is in Saudi Arabia right now as there are some issues which need to be addressed so that the retrenched workers either seek alternative employment or return to India,” said Mr Swarup.

VK Singh had rushed to Saudi Arabia earlier this month after large number of Indian workers sought Indian government’s intervention in taking up their difficulties with the Saudi authorities.

The Saudi government, then, had agreed to swiftly resolve plight of the laid-off Indian workers including providing them free passage to return to India and clearing their unpaid dues.

Mr Swarup said VK Singh will try to reach out to Saudi authorities to seek cooperation in helping the distressed Indians.

Thousands of Indian workers have lost their jobs due to slowdown in Saudi economy, triggered by low oil prices and cut in spending by the government.

The Indian government had requested the Saudi authorities to give the unemployed Indian workers exit visas without NoC (No-Objection Certificate) from employers and also urged it to clear the dues of workers who have not been paid for months, whenever they settle the accounts with the companies concerned.

As per rules, no foreign employee can leave the country without NoC by the employers.

The Saudi government also agreed to allow transfer of Indian employees, who have lost their jobs, to any other company within Saudi Arabia.

As per rules, foreign employees cannot change jobs with permission of the company where they were employed.