Covid-19: Forums gear up to help Kannadigas who might lose jobs in Saudi Arabia | Mangaluru News – Times of India

MANGALURU: With Saudi Arabia’s ministry of human resources and social development launching ‘Saudization’ drive on August 20, many forums from Karnataka are gearing up to help Kannadigas who may lose jobs in the Middle Eastern country in the aftermath of Covid-19 pandemic.
While Karnataka Cultural Foundation (KCF) is rising to the occasion, former deputy chairperson of NRI Forum of Karnataka, Dr Arathi Krishna, will be taking up the issue with the Union ministry of external affairs and embassies. Saudization is officially known as Saudi Nationalization Scheme or Nitaqat, wherein Saudi companies/ enterprises are required to fill their workforce with Saudi nationals to certain levels.
Arathi, who played a key role in bringing Kannadigas from the Gulf countries during Covid-19 crisis, told TOI that Saudization scheme, which began a year ago, will affect a majority of Kannadigas working in retail/ wholesale businesses, selling agricultural produces, flowers, beverages, spices, stationeries, and those in eateries and small shops.
“All those who are in the small-scale sectors will be affected by the move. I will take up the issue with the external affairs ministry, and the ministers concerned in my personal capacity. Indian ambassador in Saudi Arabia and Saudi Arabia ambassador to India in New Delhi have invited me to meet them next week. I will discuss the matter with them during the meet. Saudization will not only affect Kannadigas, but also other Indians working in Saudi Arabia. Similarly, people from other countries too will be affected by this. Karnataka government should also put pressure on the central government seeking help,” she said. There are around four lakh Kannadigas in Saudi Arabia, and the new rule may affect more than 50,000 of them.
KCF Saudi Arabia national president Yousuf Saqafi Baithar said majority of Kannadigas, who have already suffered a lot due to the pandemic, may lose jobs due to 70% Saudizing in retail and wholesale outlets. “Saudi Arabian officials are expected to visit business premises in the days to come and serve notice if they find violation of Saudization rule. We will do our best to rehabilitate Kannadigas if the drive troubles them. During lockdown, KCF had helped thousands of Indians stranded in various countries by distributing food kits and arranging chartered flights,” he added.

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Sagar Biswas

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