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Saudi amnesty scheme: 20,000 Indians to return home

3 May 17

Khaleej Times

Around 20,000 Indians in Saudi Arabia will avail the 90-day amnesty scheme to return home.

Anil Nautiyal, counsellor (community welfare) at the Indian embassy, said 20,321 Indian nationals had applied till Monday evening under the scheme.

A Times of India report quoted Nautiyal as saying that the Saudi government had set up an exclusive centre in Riyadh for Indian nationals who want to exit the country.

The embassy had appealed to all Indians staying in Saudi illegally to take advantage of the amnesty that is available in 21 locations across the Kingdom, he said.

A similar offer in 2013 was restricted to illegal immigrants in Riyadh and Jeddah only.

Around 1,500 blue collar workers from Tamil Nadu have also applied so far under the scheme. Most of the other workers who are availing of the scheme are from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.

"The majority of applications we received were from blue collar workers wanting to return to India," Nautiyal told The Times of India. "The numbers are fewer than during the 2103 amnesty period but many families who overstayed now want to use the scheme to return. Volunteers are assisting embassy officials through the entire process. We have put up tents in the embassy and consulate for the Indians who have applied to fly back to India."

P Murugavel a native of Kallakurichi taluk in Villupuram district, who is now returning home, was quoted as saying in the report: "I have been through hell in the last four years, working for four different sponsors, most of whom did not pay me.

"The working and living conditions were harsh. I am thankful for the amnesty offer and that I am returning home even though I'm empty-handed and do not know what the future holds for me."

Nautiyal said Saudi officials are giving out passes (one-way travel documents the authorities issue to Indian nationals to travel back home in the absence of passports) and exit visas free of charge to applicants. While they are facilitating the exit process, the applicants have to pay the flight cost.
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