Indian, Saudi ministers hold talks to help laid-off workers return home

Saudi Arabia’s Deputy Minister of Labor and Social Development Ahmed Al-Humaidan held a “productive meeting” with visiting Indian Minister of State for External Affairs V. K. Singh in Riyadh on Thursday to help laid-off Indian workers to return home, Arab News has reported.

Anil Nautiyal, first secretary for community welfare at the Indian Embassy, told the daily that the two leaders met in Riyadh to facilitate the return of these nationals to India.

“Singh also thanked the Saudi government for their full cooperation in solving the problem,” he said.
Commenting on his Riyadh visit, Singh tweeted: “In Riyadh to solve problems of our workers. Had positive discussions with vice-minister labour.”

The first batch of workers flown back

Commenting on the outcome of the meeting, Nautiyal said: “In a positive development, the first batch of laid off workers from Saad Group in Dammam were flown back to India on Thursday night.

The next batch of about 120 workers are expected to fly back home to India in a day or two.”
A total of 1,740 workers have been sent home by the embassy in last two months, he said, noting that the good work of the embassy has been acknowledged by Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, who tweeted: “Indian embassy deserves appreciation for doing outstanding work.”

Like other expatriate workers, hundreds of Indians working in the Kingdom lost their jobs after their employers went out of business due to financial constraints. Because of this, the two governments intervened in August to help laid-off workers from companies such as the Binladen Group and Saudi Oger.

Indian Ambassador Ahmed Javed also accompanied the visiting minister during the meeting. Singh flew back home at the conclusion of the talks on Friday.

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