Saudi’s Nitaqat Law: Trouble for Indian Expats?
"Indians, who constitute 20 percent of the 7 million-strong expatriate population in Saudi Arabia, are understandably worried about the impact this law will have on their lives. Many have been working here for years and support large families back home. It was in the wake of the oil boom of the 1970s that Indians, especially from the state of Kerala, headed to the Gulf in search of better economic prospects. The majority headed to UAE and Saudi Arabia. According to India's Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs (MOIA), the numbers in Saudi Arabia swelled from 15,000 in 1975 to 650,000 in 1990. The Gulf War of 1991 opened up more opportunities. The mass exodus of Yemeni workers from Saudi Arabia prompted Saudi employers to hire Indians to replace them. By the close of the century, there were 1.4 million Indians in the kingdom. The figure stands at over 2 million today. Roughly 10 percent of Indians working in Saudi Arabia are professionals, including doctors and engineers, another 10 percent are non-professionals in white collar jobs, while the remainder consists of workers such as technicians, maintenance personnel, maids, drivers, and farm laborers. "There are also some illegal Indian migrants," the MOIA website says."
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