New Delhi: External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid on Tuesday lauded the gesture of Saudi Arabian Government to grant three months respite to Indian immigrant workers overstaying or illegally residing in that country.

"All those people who were there and did not have their complete paperwork or passports or those whose work visa had expired or those people who had received the visa for some work and were doing another, they did not have the right to live there as per the laws of the country or any country for that matter," he said.

Khurshid further said, “Through our efforts and expressing their generosity and respect towards India, they have said that they would give three months time to those people so that they can complete their paperwork and if they do not wish to stay there, then they can go without any problem'.

"If they do not have adequate papers to go home, or if they do not have a passport, then they can get emergency certificate as we have arranged for and on the basis of that emergency certificate we would allow them to return to India," said Khurshid.

"If there are some people who can do some other work or are doing it and their new sponsor accepts them, then we will give them a new work visa and all the people who had panicked for this reason, I believe that the matter has cooled down and some people will return," he added.

The External Affairs Minister also appreciated the decision of Saudi Arabia to rectify the visas in the passports of such Indian expats.

The Indian Embassy in Riyadh had earlier warned its citizens not to overstay their visa in Saudi Arabia and leave the country immediately once they have obtained Emergency Certificates to avoid penal action over Nitaqat law.
Nearly 150,000 workers from Kerala feared losing their jobs after Nitaqat came into force.


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