Saudi Arabia has been talked about a lot in recent months for having brought multiple reforms in the functioning of the government. The 32-year-old Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman has losened a number of rules, including those applied to women like giving them the right drive. He even lifted the ban on cinemas in the country. On a more notable note, the anti-corruption crackdown by the prince is seen by many as a move to neutralise any remaining rival power centers. Speaking on a number of issues, the Saudi Arabian Ambassador to India Saud Bin Mohammed Al-Sati at the The Indian Express ‘Idea Exchange’ said the anti-corruption crackdown is a “straight-forward” process. He also blamed “expansionist” Iran for destabilising the Middle East. But for India, its expats and the relations with the country, he assured that the Indians living in Saudi Arabia need not worry and that the ‘Nitaqat’ programme won’t impact Indian workers. The scheme is all about giving prominence to local employees in hiring there.
The Saudi Ambassador Mohammed Al-Sati said, “Nitaqat programme has nothing to do with any particular nationality. It is a programme to encourage companies and factories in Saudi Arabia to hire more Saudis.”
Under ‘Nitaqat’ programme scheme, only organisations with high grades — based on the number of Saudi nationals employed by them and some other criteria — will be able to apply for new block visas for migrant employees.
As for the Indians working in Saudi, he said, “We haven’t seen any decrease in the number of Indians working in Saudi Arabia. If anything, the numbers are increasing and, only last year, we noticed that an additional 2,00,000 Indians arrived for work in the country.”
He further talked about the perception of Saudi Arabia for the Indian government. He said, “Your embassy tweeted just two or three weeks ago that Saudi Arabia remains the best, and the most favorable, destination for Indian professionals and workers.” He said the number of Indians working in the country, he said, “Now we have over 3.2 million Indian nationals working in Saudi Arabia. We look at them as partners, as doctors who treat our patients, as managers who manage our establishments, as nurses who help in treating our patients, and as professors who teach our students.”