08/02/2016, 12.19
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Foreign Minister: We will bring home 10 thousand Indian workers laid off in Saudi Arabia

The workers lost their jobs due to the closure of oil companies. The collapse of oil prices has hit the thriving Saudi economy. The employees have not been paid for months and have been deprived of food for a week. The Indian deputy Foreign Minister will depart today to oversee the repatriation.

New Delhi (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Indian Foreign Minister, Mrs. Sushma Swaraj, has assured that the Delhi government will bring back home the 10 thousand Indian workers stranded in Saudi Arabia, who have not been paid for months and are starving. 

The collapse in oil prices, 70% over two years, has forced companies in the sector to lay off employees, close plants and leave the nation. But foreign workers have been trapped and do not even have enough money to buy a return ticket.

Yesterday, the minister added that the Indian authorities are in contact with the Foreign Office and in Saudi Arabia to allow a quick return. The Deputy Foreign Minister, VK Singh, will depart today for the Kingdom to oversee operations.

The Ministry says that the repatriation will not be straight forward, since the higher of the Gulf countries do not grant emergency visas for the workers whose employment visas have expired given that the companies are no longer found in the territory.

Government sources stated that 3,172 Indian workers in Riyadh have not received a salary for months. All 2,450 workers who were employed in the Saudi Oger Company are housed in five camps in Jeddah, Mecca and Taif. Since July 25, the company has not distributed any food and as is happening in other parts of the country.

This is why the priority is to distribute food and the Indian consulate in Jeddah says it has enough rations for the next 8-10 days.

The Gulf countries welcome the 96% of the Indian workforce who emigrate abroad in search of work. The Foreign Ministry reports that 781 thousand people emigrated last year, 817 thousand in 2013.

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