ISLAMABAD,(Pakistan Point News - APP -27th Augst,2016) : Minister for Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development, Pir Syed Sadaruddin Shah Rashidi on Saturday said the government was pursuing concrete efforts to mitigate the sufferings of the stranded Pakistani workers in Saudi Arabia. Presently around 9,000 Pakistani workers of two defaulted companies were 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 had 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 had already announced a fund of 100 million Riyal to provide facilities to the stranded workers belonged to different nationalities.
The minister said Pakistani embassy in Saudi Arabia had started one window facility to address the problem of the workers on urgent basis while a hotline was also installed for them. The embassy was 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 the workers who wanted to come back to Pakistan would be allowed by giving their Power of Attorneys to Pakistani embassy in Saudi Arabia. Their funds would be paid through embassy afterwards. They would 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 jobs in any other company would be exempted from the condition of acquiring No Objection Certificate (NOC) from the previous employer.
The minister said he had directed the officials of Pakistani embassy to upload the data of the workers who were in need of jobs so that the employers can contact the available workforce. He said Saudi health minister had also assured to provide medical facilities to the workers without insurance. He said that the government was 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 issues of the Pakistani workers. The visit of the minister was arranged on the directives of Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif.