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Saudi Arabia defers Nitaqat enforcement by three months

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Saudi Arabia defers Nitaqat enforcement by three months
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Riyad: In a temporary relief for expatriates who are on the edge of uncertainty following the Saudization programme called Nitaqat, Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah has issued order deferring the Nitaqat enforcement by three months.

"King Abdullah directed both the Interior Ministry and the Labour Ministry to give an opportunity to workers in breach of the labour and residency regulations in the kingdom to clarify their status in a period not exceeding three months," said a statement carried on official media.

Riyad governor Amir Khalid Bin Bandar Bin Abdul Aziz had on Thursday issued order deferring the process of catching illegal residents as part of the Nitaqat policy.

The Saudization programme called Nitaqat came into force on March 27. According to the new Nitaqat policy - or Saudisation programme - of the kingdom, 10 percent of jobs are to be reserved for locals. The policy is aimed at expanding employment opportunities for Saudi nationals.

In the wake of tightening of labour laws in Saudi Arabia that may lead to job loss for Indians in that country, Kerala Wednesday set up a ministerial committee to prepare a rehabilitation package for the diaspora.

Briefing reporters after the Cabinet meeting on Wednesday, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy had said they were in touch with the Central government to know about the happenings in Saudi Arabia after a new labour policy came into effect.

According to the annual report of the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs, Saudi Arabia continues to be the desired destination among low- and semi-skilled workers from India, attracting 289,297 people in 2011. In 2011, 2.28 million Keralites were working abroad. Of them, some 570,000 are in Saudi Arabia.

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