RIYADH – The Saudi Arabian government deported another 130 Pakistani workers for staying in the country after expiry of their visas or working without a valid work permit.
The deportees who were left high and dry arrived at Multan International Airport via Saudi Arabian airlines on Thursday and alleged that top Saudi firms including Saudi Binladin Group, Redico Real Estate Development and Investment did not pay them their dues for over a year.
Talking to a leading daily, the workers expressed that their situation was dire as they had not been paid for over a year by their employers and the situation was compounded by the expiry of their work permit.
”The companies had not renewed our two-year work permits” çlaimed deported Pakistani workers.
The impoverished employees were residing in Jubail RC camps owing to the fact that they had no money. Under the kingdom’s labour laws, without valid work permits, it was impossible for them to enter into an employment contract with any other company.
Rab Nawaz, one of the deportees, claimed to have faced the worst kind of exploitation at the hands of these companies adding that the Pakistani embassy did not provide any assistance to them despite repeated requests.
Another deportee, Zahid Abbas said he got in touch with the Pakistani embassy six months ago for assistance but to his dismay he was told that their computer system had been hacked and so they can’t help till its recovery. Abbas lamented that six months had now passed without any assistance from the embassy.
On the other hand, the foreign office claimed to have paid Rs50,000 to each worker under a government assistance programme.
Not only the amount is too little as compared to their salaries for a year but a labourer claimed that only Rs10,000 had been given to his family.
The FO spokesperson released a statement saying that these Pakistanis registered a case in a local labour court. Moreover, the FO is in contact with Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Labour as well as the companies involved to resolve the longstanding wage issue.
It may be mentioned that although Pakistan and Saudi Arabia share brotherly relations but in a short span of four months, the Kingdom authorities deported a staggering 39,000 Pakistanis according to a report published in February.
The largest number of stranded Pakistanis at 882,887 was deported from Jeddah during the years 2005-06 to 2014-15.