ISLAMABAD, (Pakistan Point News - APP - 23th August, 2016) : Minister for Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development, Pir Syed Sadaruddin Shah Rashidi on Tuesday said that the issues of stranded Pakistani workers in Saudi Arabia will be resolved on priority. Presently around 9,000 Pakistani workers of two defaulted companies are facing the issues regarding their pending salaries, end of service benefits, renewal of Iqamas (residence permit), transfer of work permit, food and health etc.
During his five-day visit to Saudi Arabia, the minister said, Saudi authorities have assured full cooperation for extending health, food and other facilities to Pakistani workers residing in around 20 camps in different cities including Riyadh, Jeddah and Taif. In an interview with APP, the minister said Saudi King has already announced that a fund of 100 million Riyal would be utilized to provide facilities to the stranded workers belonged to different nationalities.
The minister said Pakistani embassy in Saudi Arabia has started one window facility to address the problem of the workers on urgent basis while a hotline is also installed for them. The embassy is also facilitating the workers in renewal of their expired passports free of cost. He said Labour Minister in a meeting agreed on providing free legal assistance to the workers for filing cases in Labour court to acquire the pending salaries.
He said those who want to come back to Pakistan will be allowed by giving their Power of Attorneys to Pakistani embassy in Saudi Arabia. Their funds would be paid through embassy afterwards. They will be exempted from paying the fine of illegal stay due to expiry of their Iqamas and facilitated to travel safely to their homeland. While those who want to get job in any other company will be exempted from the condition of acquiring No Objection Certificate (NOC) from the previous employer.
The minister said he has directed the officials of Pakistani embassy to upload the data of the workers who are in need of jobs so that the employers can contact the available workforce. He said Saudi health minister has also assured to provide medical facilities to the workers without insurance. He said the government is also paying Rs. 50,000 cash amount to the families of the stranded workers each as per available data through Pakistani embassy in Saudi Arabia.
The minister was accompanied by Managing Director, Overseas Pakistanis Foundation (OPF), Habib-ur-Rehman during his visit. The minister during his visit held meetings with the relevant Saudi ministers, governor and other high officials for resolving the issue of the Pakistani workers. The visit of the minister was arranged on the directives of Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif.