Around 50,000 Indian expatriates mainly unskilled labourers, were deported from Saudi Arabia until mid-September following an amnesty announced by the Saudi government, an Indian diplomat has said.

The figures include workers without valid residency papers or work permits as well as Haj or Umrah overstayers, who were all issued emergency travel documents by the Indian missions in Riyadh and Jeddah during the amnesty period.

“This is a record repatriation exercise carried out by the Indian diplomatic missions in cooperation with Saudi government agencies,” T C Barupal, first secretary at the Indian Embassy who looks after community welfare issues, was quoted by Arab News as saying.

Barupal said plans were under way to set up an Indian Workers Resource Center for providing information and a counselling service to members of the Indian community.

The centre will also have IT facilities, a facility for web-based attestation, capability to track down all complaints registered and to extend all possible assistance to workers.

Indian government has initiated this pilot project, which is a free, walk-in resource centre providing Indian workers, especially semi-skilled and unskilled labourers, direct access to welfare services.

Barupal said India and Saudi Arabia had forged closer ties in all sectors. Two-way trade exceeded USD 21 billion in 2010-11, a sevenfold increase over the last five years, he added.

Times of India

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