Kerala for relief to diaspora


Thiruvananthapuram : Kerala Wednesday set up a ministerial committee to prepare a rehabilitation package for the diaspora in the wake of tightening of labour laws in Saudi Arabia that may lead to job loss for Indians in that country.

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The commitee is headed by Diaspora Minister K.C. Joseph, and includes K.M. Mani (minister for finance) M. Ali (municipalities minister), Shibu Baby John (labour minister), and Adoor Prakash (revenue minister).

The ministerial committee will liaison with the central government and commercial banks here to draw a rehabilitation package.

Thousands of Indians in Saudi Arabia may be impacted by a new work policy of the kingdom that seeks to reserve a certain percentage of jobs for locals.

Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said they are in touch with the central government to know about the happenings in Saudi Arabia after a new labour policy has come into effect.

“We have been told that not a single Keralite has been sent back or asked to return on account of the new policy. See, we have no right to question the policies of another country,” he told reporters.

“We have requested the centre to intervene… and have requested that our people be put to minimum difficulties. We wish that Saudi Arabia declare an amnesty period for all to set right their papers,” said Chandy.

“We have asked the centre to see that such people are repatriated at the expense of the Centre, free of cost,” said Chandy.

“To start with, we have asked the collectors at Kasargode, Kozhikod, Malappuram and Kannur to prepare a list of people who hail from their districts and are in Saudi Arabia but do not have proper documents, by talking to their kith and kin here. Once we get the list of such people, we will send it to the Indian embassy in Saudi Arabia,” added Chandy.

According to the new Nitaqat policy – or Saudisation programme – of the kingdom, 10 percent of jobs are to be reserved for locals. The policy is aimed at expanding employment opportunities for Saudi nationals.