Indian expats need to worry about Saudi's new job scheme favouring locals
Saudi Arabia's revised Nitaqat scheme would adversely impact lakhs of Indian migrants working there. According to the reports on TOI, the latest revision in the job scheme allows only a few organisations with high grades to apply for new block visas from September.
In 2016, the Lok Sabha was informed that around 25 lakh Indians were working in Saudi Arabia. However, the numbers are on a constant decline due to various issues.
Top origin states for emigration clearances for Saudi Arabia in 2016 were Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Bihar and Kerala respectively.
What is Nitaqat system?
Nitaqat system was first introduced in mid-2011, employers are divided into four categories, Platinum, Green (with three sub categories of high, medium and low), Yellow and Red. Those in Platinum have a higher proportion of Saudi nationals as employees (generally 40% or more).
However, the revised Nitaqat scheme, will only allow employers in 'Platinum' and 'High Green' categories to apply for new block visas.
TOI has quoted Saudi Gazette, an English newspaper, which cited the Saudi labour force survey results.
According to survey, the number of non-Saudi employed persons for the first quarter of 2017 reached 108.5 lakh, nearly 78% of the total employed, which is 139 lakh. This report added that majority of foreign workforce comprised of Indians (30 lakh), Pakistanis (25 lakh) and Egyptians (22 lakh).
According to the experts, only the construction and healthcare sector would be the primary sectors to feel the heat of this policy.