UP breaks myth, tops returning Indian list from Saudi Arabia

New Delhi, May 25: External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid's Saudi Arabian visit is overshadowed by large number of Indians returning from the desert kingdom, and majority of them come from his home state of Uttar Pradesh.

Khurshid is in Saudi Arabia on an official visit and has said that the union government was in touch with Saudi authorities to complete the formalities for return of Indians before the July 3 deadline.

Under the 'Nitaqat' programme, local companies have to hire one Saudi national for every 10 migrant workers. T

Those who fail to find another job or a sponsor has to go back. As a result of this law, a number of people who were working without valid work permits and runaways have come under the scanner. Once the grace period time till July 3 ends, all those expatriates who are found Saudi Arabia without valid papers will be jailed and heavily penalised.

Earlier, it was estimated that the people from Kerala would be more in Saudi Arabia. But as per official figures, off the total processed applications of 56,734, there are 21, 331 people from Uttar Pradesh as against 3,610 from Kerala.

As of May 20, 75,000 Indians have registered with the Indian Embassy in Riyadh and the Consulate in Jeddah to be processed and be send back. There are nearly three million Indians in Saudi Arabia.

Khurshid said that contrary to perceptions, there are more people from Uttar Pradesh than Kerala who are being affected by the Saudi law.

"This whole thing started by people from Kerala being extremely worried. But as the numbers tumble out, we find that Uttar Pradesh has much larger numbers than Kerala. So we have to deal with people right across."

He said state governments have been informed because all these people coming back have to get emergency certificates. "They can't be given unless the district authorities to which they belong, verify and give us verified information so that emergency certificates can be given.

"In terms of the number of people who are getting exit permits (issued by Saudi authorities), it is 500 a day at present," he said.

"That would not within three months address all the people who have registered and those who will continue to get registered. We have made some suggestions and I will also talk about what can be done," he said.
With more number of people returning to UP, Khurshid's task has become more sensitive.

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