India, Saudi Arabia discuss standard employment contract

Riyadh – Indian and Saudi Arabian officials discussed points of standard employment contract for Indian workers in the Saudi kingdom, media reported Friday.

The first meeting of the Saudi-Indian Joint Committee on labour issues concluded Thursday, the day celebrated as International Labour Day.

The meeting was a follow-up to an agreement that was recently signed for the recruitment of domestic workers between this Gulf nation and India.

The agreement was signed by Saudi Labour Minister Adel Fakeih and India’s Minister for Overseas Indian Affairs Vayalar Ravi.

The Indian side for the joint committee meeting included R. Buhril, protector-general of emigrants, and Iqbal Singh Bains, joint secretary of the emigration policy in the overseas Indian affairs ministry.

The Saudi representatives were led by Ahmed Al-Fahaid, deputy labour minister for international affairs.

According to the members of the Indian delegation, both sides expressed satisfaction at the growing rate of cooperation between the two countries in multiple sectors, including labour, but no further details were given.

“Both sides discussed the provisions to be included in the text of standard employment contracts for Indian workers being recruited by the Kingdom,” the Arab News quoted an Indian delegate as saying.

Welfare of the Indian community in Saudi Arabia also came up for discussion.

“Action will certainly be taken against recruitment agencies who are found guilty of violating labour agreements,” an Indian delegate said.

The Indian side said that the phenomenon of unlicensed recruitment agencies and bogus recruitment schemes was being tackled.

“This is the first time that India has entered into an official agreement on labour cooperation,” another Indian delegate said.

“This is also the first step toward a comprehensive agreement on labour cooperation covering the entire spectrum of Indian workers in the Kingdom. We will implement such a scheme with other countries once we ensure that this accord has been successful.”

Saudi Arabia is home to around 2.8 million expatriate Indians, many of whom are blue-collar workers.

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