India and Saudi Arabia on 28 April 2013 decided to set up a joint working group to address the concerns of expatriate Indian workers in Saudi Arabia on the Nitaqat law. The India-Saudi Arabia Joint Working Group on Labour will discuss a Memorandum of Understanding on labour co-operation and other issues. The decisions were taken at a meeting of a high level Indian delegation led by the Overseas Indian Affairs Minister Vyalar Ravi with the Saudi Labour Minister Adel Fakieh in Jeddah. The first meeting of the group will be held in Riyadh on 1 May 2013.
The Joint working group led by a Saudi Deputy Minister and India’s Deputy Chief of Mission in Saudi Arabia will discuss and evolve mechanism to address all immediate problems facing the NRI community including issues related to overstaying Indian workers. The process of recruitment of Indian workers would be made more transparent.
Saudi Arabia is world’s top oil exporter. It has more than nine million expatriates. They provide important revenue for countries including India, Pakistan, Yemen and the Philippines.
What is Nitaqat Law
The Nitaqat law makes it mandatory for local companies to hire one Saudi national for every 10 migrant workers. The new policy will result in to denial of job opportunities for many Indians working there. The Nitaqat aims to create more jobs for Saudi citizens. It was enacted following Arab Spring, which happened mainly because of huge unemployment in countries such as Yemen and Egypt.