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RS member seeks govt intervention to address issue of travel ban by Saudi, other Gulf nations

External affairs minister S Jaishankar told the Rajya Sabha member that the Centre is speaking to the GCC states for a solution to the flight ban, according to a release issued by Kumar’s office.
By hindustantimes.com | Edited by Kunal Gaurav, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
UPDATED ON AUG 03, 2021 07:41 PM IST
Emirates airliners are seen on the tarmac in a general view of Dubai International Airport in Dubai, UAE.(Reuters)

A Rajya Sabha member on Tuesday sought intervention from the ministry of external affairs to address the issue of Indian expatriates facing problems due to flight bans and other entry restrictions imposed on India by Gulf nations, reported news agency PTI.

In a letter to external affairs minister S Jaishankar, M V Shreyams Kumar, a Rajya Sabha member and a former MLA from Kerala, expressed concerns over the likelihood of thousands of Indian expatriates losing their jobs and suffering huge losses in businesses if these Gulf nations maintain the current entry restrictions on India.

"A state like Kerala will face social and economic chaos if Gulf NRIs have to suffer job loss in a big way and forced to remain in their houses,” he wrote to Jaishankar.

All member countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council, except Qatar, have imposed strict travel restrictions on India in the wake of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic driven by the highly transmissible Delta variant. Many Indians returned home in the wake of the pandemic and are now stuck here due to the entry restrictions.

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"I request your earnest intervention in this grave matter concerning the valued expatriates who fill our exchequer with their hard earned foreign exchange," Kumar added.

The minister told the Rajya Sabha member that the Centre is speaking to the GCC states for a solution to the flight ban, according to a release issued by Kumar’s office.

Meanwhile, the United Arab Emirates has announced a change in its travel guidelines, allowing health workers and fully vaccinated nationals from six countries, including India, who hold residency permits to return to the Gulf country from August 5. Both vaccinated and unvaccinated travellers from several other categories, including students, employees of federal and local government bodies, and those working in the education sector, will be allowed into the UAE. The latest directive will apply to citizens of India, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nigeria, and Uganda.

(With PTI inputs)

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