Pakistan resents “Saudization” of Pakistani workers

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ISLAMABAD, MAY 30 (DNA) -Responding to media query regarding problems being faced by Pakistani workers in Saudi Arabia, the Spokesman of Foreign Office said that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and its Embassy in Riyadh are fully cognizant of the difficulties being faced by Pakistani workers in Saudi Arabia and are working overtime to minimize the impact of Saudization drive on Pakistani workers.

“Taking advantage of the three month grace period given by the Saudi government, our Embassy in Riyadh has taken a number of initiatives to help Pakistani workers regularize their stay in Saudi Arabia and also to help illegal workers to leave the Kingdom without any penalty and before expiry of the grace period on 3 July 2013. Some of these steps are enumerated below:

a). Our Ambassador in Riyadh has held meetings with the Saudi Labour Minister and Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs and our Embassy’s officials have held meetings with relevant Saudi authorities both in the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Labour to impress upon them the huge negative impact on Pakistani workforce in Saudi Arabia of the current Saudization drive.

b). Attending to approximately 2000 Pakistanis per day;

c). Informing Pakistani workers, many of whom are illiterate about the new Saudi policy by preparing guidelines in Urdu and Pashto. Country wide campaign has been launched through electronic, print, social media as well as word of mouth to assist Pakistani workers. Consequently, thousands of illegal workers have been registered;

d). Almost 60 companies which have the ability and willingness to employ foreign workers have been approached to arrange employment for the Pakistani workers who intend to continue to stay in Saudi Arabia;

e). Representatives of these companies are visiting the Embassy on daily basis to interview workers in various categories. The unique initiative of holding ‘Job Fair’ in the Embassy has been very popular and successful;

f). Special windows have been opened to timely issue Emergency Travel Documents to those workers who decide to leave the Kingdom;

g). Staff including legal consultant has been deputed at deportation Centres in the Kingdom to assist Pakistanis who are detained for early completion of pre-departure formalities. A legal consultant has also been deputed to assist workers in the process of regularization of their status;

h). Special teams are being sent regularly for providing assistance and advice to the workers in different regions of the Kingdom;

Regarding media reports that 30,000 Pakistani workers have been declared illegal immigrants in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the Spokesman added that we have asked our Embassy in Riyadh to ascertain facts. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs takes the welfare of Pakistani nationals abroad very seriously. Since the grace period granted by the Saudi government is not over yet, we will continue to make all possible efforts to facilitate our nationals abroad”. DNA