Thousands of illegal Indian immigrants to return from Saudi
Thousands of Indian workers who were living in Saudi Arabia illegally are set to return to India under a government approved amnesty scheme. The amnesty period will be for 90 days and will benefit 20,321 Indians, mostly from Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, stranded in the kingdom. The numbers are far lesser than those from a similar scheme in 2013.
Plight of Indian labourers and workers
A large proportion of Indian immigrant workers in Saudi Arabia are employed in construction work and domestic help. Several Indians working in these places have complained that their wages are low and that their travel documents are seized by their bosses and sponsors. Many migrant workers are forced to live in large groups in tiny accommodations, adding to their woes.
Indians in Saudi Arabia
Between January 2014 and April 2016, 500,000 Indians moved to Saudi Arabia for employment. As of 2015, approximately 3 million Indian citizens reside in Saudi Arabia.
Details of the scheme
Under the scheme, the Saudi Arabian government is providing one-way travel documents for Indians without visas and giving them exit permits, free of cost. However, the individuals will have to bear the cost of travel. Saudi has also set up a special center in Riyadh for Indians wanting to exit the country. The Indian embassy and consulate have put up tents for applicants.
Details of the immigrants
Of the 20,000 Indians set to return, most are employed in blue-collar jobs. They are primarily from Tamil Nadu, UP and Bihar. There are also several families who stayed back in the kingdom even though their visas had expired.