Indians among expat workers stranded without pay in Riyadh

June 25th, 2008 - 7:33 pm ICT by IANS  

Dubai, June 25 (IANS) Authorities in the Saudi Arabian capital of Riyadh have directed police to expedite a case of 45 expatriate workers, including Indians, who have been stranded without pay for seven months. The workers - mostly from India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka - have alleged that the company they were employed with had asked them to work for an extra year after their contracts expired, held up their salaries for seven months and refused them exit visas, the Arab News reported.

A total of 55 workers were recruited by the Nukhba House of Medical Services and were placed in the company’s client hospitals.

However, after their contracts expired, the hospitals they worked in refused to release them till replacements were provided by the Nukhba.

In January this year, Saudi health ministry workers replaced them and the company then moved them to an apartment in Riyadh where they have been living in miserable conditions since.

“Ten workers have left the Kingdom since then,” Abid Lateef Khan, a Pakistani medical technician who is one of the workers, told the newspaper.

According to the report, since the company has not renewed the workers’ residency permits, they risk arrest and deportation if they venture out of their camp.

Only a handful of them have residency papers that are still valid.

Another worker said they were suffering from hunger and depression.

The men have also approached a police station seeking an immediate solution to their case and now the Riyadh governorate has taken up their case.

“The Riyadh governorate has asked the Sulaimaniya police to help solve the eight-month-old case,” Khan said.

“The problems are getting compounded and no government agency is coming to our rescue,” another worker, Gagan Kumar Singh, said.

Medical professionals in the group were earning between $350 and $400 a month while cleaners were earning less than $100.

According to the newspaper, this was not the first time that Nukhba was involved in such a case and the company had been blacklisted in an earlier case in which it had similarly flouted terms of contracts of workers it had recruited from abroad.

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