Dubai, Oct 29 (IANS) The Indian embassy in Saudi Arabia has left no stone unturned to make sure that no Indian remains there illegally after the amnesty period granted by the authorities for expatriates to rectify their residency status in that Gulf nation ends Nov 3.
Sibi George, deputy chief of mission (DCM), while speaking to volunteers and the media over the weekend at Dammam in Saudi Arabia, said the Indian embassy in Saudi capital Riyadh has done everything to make sure that no Indian in that Gulf nation remained in the illegal category after the amnesty ends, the Saudi Gazette reported.
"Over 1.23 million people have rectified their status and 300,000 people left the country, and we should realise that those who left the country were waiting for this moment," George was quoted as saying.
"The speculation made by some Indian media, especially Kerala media, that huge number of Indians are going to come back from Saudi Arabia have been proved wrong, rather I must tell you that the number of Indians have gone up in the last four months," he added.
Stating that diplomatic relations between Saudi Arabia and India are very strong, he expressed gratitude to Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz and the authorities "for their kind gesture" that allowed millions of expatriates to rectify their residency status.
"We will continue to build better trade relations with the Kingdom, and we are inviting more Saudi companies to invest in India," he said.
He said more opportunities for skilled Indians will arise in the future in Saudi Arabia as the economy of the country is growing at a good pace.
"We have over 800 registered volunteers who have done a tremendous job in helping people during this grace period," he said.
The Saudi government had introduced a new labour policy, called Nitaqat, that makes it mandatory for all Saudi companies to reserve 10 percent of jobs for Saudi nationals.
There are around 2.8 million expatriate Indians in Saudi Arabia, a large number of whom are from the south Indian state of Kerala.