The Foreign Office spokesman on Thursday said that Pakistan embassy in Riyadh is trying to minimise the impact of ‘Saudisation’ drive on Pakistanis working in Saudi Arabia.
Saudisation drive is an ongoing effort of the Saudi authorities to encourage the private sector to hire more Saudi nationals and reduce reliance on foreign human resource.
“Pakistan Embassy has made sincere efforts to help Pakistanis working in Saudi Arabia that were affected due to strict immigration rules imposed by the Saudi government,” the spokesman said.
The spokesman, while responding to questions posed by media-persons, said that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Embassy in Riyadh are fully cognisant of the difficulties being faced by Pakistani workers in Saudi Arabia and working overtime to minimise the impact of the Saudisation drive on Pakistani workers.
The spokesman said taking advantage of the three month grace period given by the Saudi government, the embassy in Riyadh has taken a number of initiatives to help Pakistani workers regularise their stay and also to help illegal workers leave the Kingdom without any penalty and before expiry of the grace period (July 3).
The spokesman said the embassy was informing Pakistani workers, many of whom are ignorant about the new Saudi policy by preparing guidelines in Urdu and Pashto.
He said a countrywide campaign has been launched through electronic, print, social media to assist the workers. Consequently, thousands of illegal workers have been registered. Legal consultants have been deputed at deportation centres in the Kingdom.
Regarding media reports that 30,000 Pakistani workers have been declared illegal immigrants in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the spokesman said the embassy in Riyadh has been asked to ascertain the facts in this regard.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 31st, 2013.