‘Will do everything to bring back stranded Indians in Saudi’

Thiruvananthapuram: Minister of state for External Affairs V K Singh today said that the Centre would do everything to get exit visas for Indian workers stranded in Saudi Arabia, who had lost their jobs due to the economic slowdown there.

However, he said he did not have the exact figures about how many Indians returned to the home country so far.

“We have got around 30-40 lakh Indians working in Saudi Arabia in various fields. There is a problem out there in various companies because of economic slowdown.”

“And that is why certain companies have not paid their workers,” he told reporters on the sidelines of an inspection at the regional passport office in the city.

Stating that the construction sector was the most affected due to the slowdown, he said major companies, including Binladin Group, Saudi Oger and Saad Group, where a large number of Indians are working, were facing problems.

“For Saudi Oger group is concerned, people who wanted to come back have already started. Government of Saudi Arabia give them free air passage,” he said.

“But in the case of Saad Group, things are different. For exit visa, you need NOC of the company. And the company is refusing to do anything. Now the matter has been taken by the Labour ministry of Saudi Arabia to the royal court to decide what action can be taken on it,” he said.

The minister said the workers would start returning the moment they begin getting the exit visas.

Stating that there are some problems for getting exit visas for those who work in the case of Binladin group also, he said the government was trying everything to sort out the problem and bring back the workers.