External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said the King of Saudi Arabia has given instructions to help the thousands of Indian workers stuck in the Gulf kingdom, including giving them free passage back home.
The Saudi King has instructed his officials to resolve the crisis faced by Indians, the minister said in identical suo moto statements on the Saudi situation in both houses of parliament.
“The Saudi King has instructed his officials to solve the problem in two days. General V.K. Singh is there. He met the Labour Minister there yesterday (Wednesday), he said instructions have been given to give the Indian workers exit visa; they will send them back in their own flights, at their own expense,” Sushma Swaraj said.
“They have also permitted that those who are found suitable may be given another job,” she said.
Sushma Swaraj said V.K. Singh has interacted with important Saudi authorities, including Saudi Minister of Labour and Social Development Mufrej Al Haqbani.
Regarding the dues of workers, the minister said: “Every worker will file their claim with the labour office, and the claims will be settled even after they come back.”
She also said the Saudi administration was arranging for providing food and other assistance to the camps where Indians were lodged.
“Besides, they offered to arrange for medical care, food, and sanitation in the camps where Indians are,” she said.
The minister thanked the Saudi King for the assistance.
She said: “I want to thank Saudi rulers on behalf of India and the house. I also thank the Prime Minister. This is happening because of the relations he made during his visit to Saudi Arabia.”
Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad also welcomed the move.
“This is a very good thing. we must thank them on behalf of people of India,” he said.
Some 7,700 Indian workers employed with a company in Saudi Arabia are facing a financial crisis after it shut down and laid off workers. Minister of State for External Affairs V.K. Singh is in Riyadh to sort out the problem, including arranging to bring back those workers who want to return.
In the Lok Sabha, just as some Congress members including Jyotiraditya Scindia and K.C. Venugopal wanted to speak on the issue, Speaker Sumitra Mahajan asked, “Do you want to compliment the minister? Sometime you must appreciate the good work.”
Scindia said: “I want to compliment External Affairs Minister that she came up with her statements on the issue without members raising these. On similar line, I hope other NDA ministers will also emulate External Affairs Minister and come well prepared in the house.”
“I also feel like the manner External Affairs Minister spoke about bilateral relations between India and Saudi Arabia, she will speak on countries like Pakistan and China too,” Scindia added.
While Saudi Arabia has over three million expatriate Indians, there are over 800,000 of them in Kuwait. Most of them are blue collared workers.