Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala Thursday sought the Centre's intervention to see that Saudi Arabia took a liberal approach on the implementation of its new labour policy as part of that country's steps to expand job avenues for its nationals.
The new labour policy, called Nitaqat, might lead to the denial of job opportunities for large number of expatriates from India, especially from Kerala, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said in a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
"It has come to my notice that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has initiated strong steps to implement Nitaquat law to expand employment avenues to its nationals which may ultimately lead to the denial of job opportunities for expatriates," he said.
Stating that there were limitations for the Centre to interfere in the internal policy decisions of Saudi Arabia, Chandy said "but an appeal to the Saudi Arabian authorities to give more time for the implementation of Nitaquat may give a breathing space for the expatriates and avoid immediate repercussions."
Seeking Centre's intervention considering the seriousness of the matter, Chandy wanted the government to use "our cordial relations with that country so that they may take a liberal approach regarding the implementation of Nitaquat."
Under the new policy, 10 per cent of jobs even in small and medium business establishments should be reserved for Saudi nationals.
The total remittances in Kerala from Non-Resident Keralites in 2011 was estimated to be approximately Rs.55,000 crore compared to Rs.43,228 crore in 2008, the economic review for the year 2012 pointed out.
In 2011, 2.28 million Keralites were working abroad. Of them, some 570,000 are in Saudi Arabia, a report said.