India and Saudi Arabia on 2 January 2014 signed an agreement to protect the interests and rights of Indian domestic sector workers in the Gulf Kingdom. The pact was signed by Overseas Indian Affairs Minister Vayalar Ravi and the visiting Adel bin Mohammed Fakeih, the Labour Minister of Saudi Arabia in New Delhi.
The agreement signing was necessitated in the view of Indians, who are facing work related problems in Saudi Arabia. The two countries have agreed on the need for a comprehensive way to deal with such problems.
The two sides have decided to set up a joint committee to meet periodically to overcome the difficulties in implementing the agreement.
The pact has been signed with an objective to ensure authenticity and implementation of employment contract and take an action against recruitment agencies that violates the laws. At present around 28 lakh peoples are living in Saudi Arabia. Indians form the largest expatriate community in the country. Of 500000 domestic workers in Saudi Arabia, most people are working as maids, helpers, drivers and cleaners of which around 10 percent are women.
The features of the agreement as per the official statements are:
• It protects the rights of both the employers and domestic workers
• It regulates the contractual relation between them
• It ensures authenticity and implementation of the employment contract, takes measures against recruitment agencies that will violate laws and establishes a mechanism to provide 24 hours assistance to the domestic sector workers
The agreement was conseptualised in April 2013 during the visit of Vayalar Ravi to Saudi Arabia.
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