Thiruvananthapuram: Saudi Arabia's new labour policy, which is expected to affect expatriate workers of the state, has not created a panic situation and India is trying to find a solution to the issue based on its cordial relations with that country, Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said today.
“We expect to resolve the matter amicably as India has a good and friendly trade relation with Saudi Arabia,” he said while addressing a press conference here.
There was no “panic situation” due to the labour policy titled 'Nitaqat,' part of Saudi Arabia's effort to strengthen localisation of jobs. The decision has triggered apprehension among lakhs of Keralites working in that country regarding their jobs.
The state has already taken up the issue with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid. It has approached Central ministers hailing from Kerala -- A K Antony, Vayalar Ravi and E Ahamad -- seeking the Centre's intervention so that Saudi Arabia takes a liberal view on the issue.
Chandy said though the policy came into force in July of 2009, “Now Saudi government had decided to strictly implement it, under which 10 per cent of total jobs should be for locals.”
Efforts were underway to see that there was no exodus of expatriates from Saudi Arabia, he said.
However, the government would work out a rehabilitation package for those returning from that country. Steps would also be taken to arrange for their air travel on concessional ticket rates, he added.
Around 5.7 lakh Keralites are working in Saudi Arabia as per a 2011 estimate. According to a report, out of the total population of 1.87 crore there, 87 lakh were foreigners.