JEDDAH/RIYADH: Minister for Overseas Pakistani’s, Pir Syed Sadaruddin Shah Rashidi, has praised Saudi Arabia for the steps it has taken to address the issues of retrenched workers.

The visiting minister urged the Pakistani workers to try for transfer of sponsorship in the Kingdom while pursuing their salary and other dues from their previous companies.

He insisted that they stay back and fight for their dues, “although they have the option of returning home.” Rashidi appeared under pressure in the face of piling woes of the workers who were sacked by private companies in the Kingdom.

He reiterated the three options: “Stay back and try to retrieve your compensation from the company; get the contract transferred to another firm; and exit the country and assign someone to follow your case with the company.”

Rashidi said he had a detailed meeting with Saudi Labor Minister Mufrej Al-Haqabani in Riyadh a day earlier and discussed the issue of the stranded Pakistani workers. He visited camps in Riyadh, Dammam and Jeddah. Pakistan Ambassador Manzoor ul Haq also joined the minister for the meetings.

Abdullah Al-Olayan, director general of the Ministry of Labor and Social Development branch in Makkah, along with several other Saudi officials accompanied the minister in Jeddah camps, where some 500 people are living.

Rashidi also attended a meeting with Health Minister Tawfiq Al-Rabiah, who has directed the hospitals to ensure medical care to those living in the camps, according to the minister.

Meanwhile Saudi Minister of Labour and Social Development Dr Moufarrej bin Saad al-Haqabani has said that several local firms, including Saudi Binladin Group, have now started paying overdue wages.

The group’s executives have promised that the payments would be completed by September, he said.

Minister said that Saudi Oger is the only company still broadly withholding payments, and the ministry will press foreigners' wage claims through the Kingdom's labour dispute system.


Thousands of jobless Pakistanis, Indians, and Filipinos are stranded and destitute in the Kingdom after a plunge in oil prices sparked construction layoffs.