India helping Nitaqat-hit expats

Updated 29 April 2013

India helping Nitaqat-hit expats

Saudi Arabia and India have agreed to set up a joint panel “to evolve mechanism” for addressing problems faced by Indian workers hit by the Nitaqat scheme in Saudi Arabia.
The first meeting of the joint panel, which will also discuss ways and means to maximize the availability of alternative jobs for affected workers, will be held in Riyadh on Wednesday.
Addressing a press conference after holding talks with Minister of Labor Adel Fakeih in Jeddah yesterday, Indian Minister of Overseas Affairs Vayalar Ravi, said: “The Indian side has conveyed its concerns to the Saudi officials, who have assured all possible support.”
He said Saudi Deputy Minister for Labor Affairs Ahamed Al-Humaidan and Deputy Chief of Mission at Embassy of India Sibi George would cochair the panel. He said the two sides have also agreed to expedite the long-awaited MoU for labor cooperation between the two countries.
The delegation also met Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal.
Ravi, who is accompanied by E. Ahamed, India's minister of state for external affairs and T.K.A. Nair, adviser to the Indian prime minister, said: “A joint working group, set up for expediting the labor agreement, will meet next month in New Delhi.” He said the Kingdom and India would also work closely to make the process of recruitment of workers more transparent, which is in the interest of both the workers and the employers.
Ravi, who is leading a “goodwill delegation,” said the visit was also aimed at briefing the Indian community on the steps taken by India for the rehabilitation of the returning Indians.
He said the Indian delegation did not discuss amnesty for illegal Indians. He reminded the Indian community that they are living in a foreign land where one must respect and obey law of the land. He urged Indian workers to regularize their living and working status within the three-month grace period.
He said that Huroob is a complex and sensitive issue that involves several aspects from the Saudi side.
Nair said Saudi Arabia is India’s strategic partner and both countries share broader range of interest than manpower. He praised Indian diplomatic missions in Jeddah and Riyadh for their efforts to serve the community with limited resources.


Saudi Arabia could return to extreme precautionary restrictions, minister warns

Penalties will be doubled upon repetition of the violation. (SPA)
Updated 18 min ago

Saudi Arabia could return to extreme precautionary restrictions, minister warns

  • People not wearing masks will be fined

JEDDAH: The Kingdom could return to extreme precautionary restrictions if the number of COVID-19 patients exceeds the medical sector’s capacity, Saudi Arabia’s Health Minister Tawfiq Al-Rabiah warned on Saturday.

“Public awareness and adherence to precautionary measures is essential to continue the ease of restrictions,” Al-Rabiah told Al-Arabiya on Saturday. “We continue monitoring the situation based on the number of critical cases in hospitals and their capacity to receive them. We want to be able to receive all cases that reach out to us and provide them with the care that they need. We are all in one boat in this situation, we are one team, and we must work together cautiously. Lack of commitment will definitely take us back to where we were.”

The minister expressed his concern about overcrowding in some public places during the Eid holidays, adding that while crowds were likely at the initial phase of the ‘unlock’ he remained optimistic about the public’s awareness level.

The minister said that although children were the least likely to be infected they could carry the virus without symptoms. He advised families to keep children away from elderly members of their families such as grandparents.

There were 1,618 new cases reported in Saudi Arabia, meaning that 83,384 people have now contracted the disease. There are currently 24,501 active cases.

The Health Ministry announced that 1,870 more patients had recovered from COVID-19, bringing the total number of recoveries to 58,883. More than 70 percent of coronavirus patients in the Kingdom have recovered from the disease.

There were 22 new COVID-19-related deaths reported on Saturday, raising the total number of fatalities to 480.

The ministry has assigned 30 health practitioners to carry out the third stage of an expanded examination plan to assess the prevalence of COVID-19 in the city of Makkah.

FASTFACTS

• 58,883 recoveries

• 24,501 active cases

The examination will take place at a center in the Al-Zaidi district, where citizens and expats will be tested inside their cars through 12 tracks without the need to leave their vehicles. The center has the capacity for over 1,000 tests daily and these will be carried out through appointments made on the ministry’s Sehaty app.

Adjustments to previously announced social-distancing measures and regulations were announced by the Saudi Interior Ministry on Saturday. These include new violation penalties, as the second stage of restriction-easing starts on May 31.

Individuals who intentionally violate regulations will pay SR1,000 ($266). Breaches include not wearing a mask, not committing to social distancing marks and areas, refusing to undergo temperature checks at entrances, or not adhering to preventive protocols if their temperature is higher than 38 degrees Celsius.

The ministry amended the maximum number of people allowed for social gatherings inside homes, rest houses, farms, or in social events such as funerals and parties to 50 people.

Private sector establishments that are found to be non-compliant with new preventive measures and protocols will pay a penalty of SR10,000.

This penalty covers violations such as admitting entry to individuals not wearing medical or cloth masks, lack of disinfectants and sterilizers, not checking employee and customer temperatures at entrances, lack of sterilization on shopping facilities, cart surfaces and shopping baskets after each use, as well as opening fitting rooms and children’s play areas.
Penalties will be doubled upon repetition of the violation.