The Saudi Arabia-based Indian Social Forum (Eastern Province), a platform of Indian expats living in Saudi Arabia, has urged the Karnataka government to formulate a scheme to help the Kannadigas returning home from Saudi Arabia in the wake of the job crisis there.
Addressing presspersons in Mangaluru on Friday, Mohammed Shareef, Executive Committee Member of the Forum, said that around 2.5 lakh Kannadigas are living in Saudi Arabia.
The visa regulations in Saudi are aimed at adding more local jobs to the economy and addressing the rising problem of unemployment there. Saudi Arabia is taking a hard look at its economy, including jobs, as it can no longer rely on oil. The kingdom is aggressively pushing a ‘Saudisation’ policy in the jobs sector, he said.
Most of the Kannadigas in the Gulf countries are unskilled and semi-skilled. The economic downturn in the region and the Saudi’s decision to provide jobs to locals have forced the Kannadigas to return home.
The Karnataka government should come to the aid of the Saudi returnees, Shareef said. Citing the model being followed by the Kerala government in this regard, he said Kerala is extending financial assistance to the Saudi returnees to take up self-employment and other activities.
The Karnataka government should also come up with schemes to meet the requirements of the Saudi returnees, he said. The NRIs from Karnataka were contributing around $1 billion a year to the State earlier. Now that is coming down, he said.
The Forum will soon submit a report on the condition of the non-resident Kannadigas in Saudi Arabia to the Karnataka government, he added.
Source: Business Line