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Pakistanis, Indians stuck in Saudi camps


Concerns are rising in Indian and Pakistan over the fate of hundreds of the two countries’ nationals who have been stranded in camps in Saudi Arabia after companies slashed their foreign workforce due to economic problems caused by low oil prices.

Bloomberg in a recent report had warned that at least 8,000 Pakistanis and 7,700 Indians have been abandoned in camps in Saudi Arabia without food and water or visas to leave.

Many were employed by construction companies whose businesses have now been battered by the downturn in oil prices.

The plunging oil prices have already forced Saudi Arabia to cut spending and delay payments to contractors – particularly construction companies – that strongly rely on foreign workforce.

India says at least 4,000 of its national who have been stranded in Saudi Arabia were the former employees of Saudi Oger, a Riyadh-based construction and management company.

New Delhi has announced that the Indian Embassy is providing food to workers in 20 camps in Riyadh, Jeddah and Dammam,.
The government has also sent a top diplomat to Saudi Arabia to assist stranded workers.

Saudi Oger has also fired a majority of the 8,000 Pakistanis who have become stranded in the country. Some 500 have also been fired by two other companies, namely M/s Saad Trading and Contracting Company, Al-Khobar.

Officials in Islamabad have already announced that the country exported about 1 million workers worldwide in 2015, more than half of them to Saudi Arabia.

A total of 1.8 million Pakistanis are employed in the kingdom, Bloomberg added.

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