Over 18,000 Indians have approached the Indian embassy in Riyadh seeking ‘emergency certificate’ to leave Saudi Arabia amid concerns about possible job losses due to implementation of a new labour law .

“Nitaqat” that seeks to reserve 10 per cent jobs for locals.

The Indian workers have applied for issuance of Emergency Certificate (EC) to leave the country as they had given their passports to the sponsors.

Over 18,000 applications for issuing ‘Emergency Certificates’ to return to India have been received till May 2, Overseas Indian Affairs Minister Vayalar Ravi said in a written reply to a question in Lok Sabha.

The embassy had started receiving applications for issuance of EC since last week of May.

The ‘Nitaqat’ law makes it mandatory for local companies to hire one Saudi national for every 10 migrant workers. There has been widespread perception that the new policy will lead to denial of job opportunities for a large number of Indians working there.

Over two million Indians are currently working in Saudi Arabia. The Saudi government was implementing the Nitaqat law to cut unemployment in the country.

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