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Return by Sept 25, we’ll fly you for free: Sushma to jobless Indians in Saudi

india Updated: Aug 23, 2016 17:58 IST
Nisheeth Upadhyay
External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj

External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj(Reuters)

External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj said on Tuesday Indian workers who have lost their jobs in Saudi Arabia will be brought back to the country free of charge, if they file their claims by September 25.

“When Saudi Government settles with the Companies, the worker’s claims (for unpaid dues with their employers) will also be settled… Those who do not return by 25th September will have to make their own arrangements for boarding, lodging and return journey,” Swaraj tweeted.

Read: Govt plans to evacuate 10,000 laid off Indians in Saudi amid food crisis

Thousands of Indian workers have lost their jobs due to slowdown in Saudi economy, triggered by low oil prices and cut in spending by the government.

Swaraj had last month directed the embassy in Riyadh to provide free ration to unemployed Indian workers in Saudi Arabia. Swaraj’s response came after a tweet by a man who said around 800 Indian workers were starving in Jeddah.

Saudi Arabia has the largest number of Indian passport holders outside India, most of them are employed as blue collar workers. The oil-rich country is often criticised for human rights violations and difficult working conditions for migrant workers, a charge its government denies.

Earlier this month, minister of state for external affairs VK Singh had visited Saudi Arabia after a large number of Indian workers sought the government’s intervention in taking up their difficulties with the authorities there. He also visited Saudi Arabia last week to resolve the matter.

“@Gen_VKSingh visited Saudi Arabia twice to resolve the problems of Indian workers rendered unemployed due to closure of companies there,” Swaraj tweeted on Tuesday.