Kerala to Foot Saudi Returnees’ Bill

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THIRUVANANTHAPURAM, Oct 31 — The Government of Indian state of Kerala has decided to meet all expenses of people from the state forced to return from Saudi Arabia after November 4, when the amnesty period set by that country ends, Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said.

“We have asked the central government to chip in. Even if they do not come to our help, we will meet all the expenses of those who have to return from Saudi Arabia,” Chandy said, after the weekly cabinet meeting.

He added, however, that fears of a mass exodus, as reported in some sections of the media earlier this year, had been proven baseless.

“The exact numbers (of those who will leave Saudi Arabia) would be known only in the coming days, as the Indian Embassy officials there are on the job. The next cabinet meeting would also take up a rehabilitation scheme for returnees,” Chandy said.

Saudi Arabian authorities have announced that under no circumstances would the November 4 deadline for regularization of papers for those illegally residing in that country be extended.

Saudi Arabia is implementing the Nitaqat or Saudization policy, which makes it mandatory for all Saudi companies to reserve 10 percent of jobs for Saudi nationals.

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