Egyptian ambassador to Saudi Arabia Afifi Abdul Wahab said that a delegation from Saudi Arabia is scheduled to meet in Cairo on Tuesday to discuss Egyptian migrant workers in Saudi Arabia, state-owned news agency MENA reported.
The meeting will be chaired by Saudi Arabia’s undersecretary to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Osama Al-Sanusi, and the Egyptian Assistant Secretary of State for Consular Affairs Ali Al-Oshairy.
According to MENA Abdul Wahab announced on Saturday that Egypt has contacted Saudi Arabia and an appointment has been made with Labour Minister Adel Al-Faqih to discuss the situation of Egyptian workers. He added that there are no accurate statistics regarding the number of Egyptian migrant workers in Saudi Arabia and that this should be remedied immediately.
The delegation will also discuss Egyptian prisoners in Saudi Arabia, the application of the Egyptian curriculum in Saudi Arabia, and the procedures surrounding the issuance of death certificates for Egyptians who have died in Saudi Arabia.
The decision to hold a high-level meeting on the issue came after the Saudi Labour Minister announced a new plan to tackle illegal migrant workers last month. Al-Faqih unveiled the government’s plan during an interview with MBC, where he outlined three options to deal with illegal workers.
The first option, Al-Faqih said, is to ask members of the public to report on companies and individuals hiring illegal workers by calling the ministry on a toll-free number. The second option would be for companies to regulate themselves by having all the relevant information provided online, allowing businesses to monitor their own companies for violations.
The third option is to have the Ministry of Labour carry out inspections. To aid in this the minister announced an additional 100,000 new inspectors would be employed by the ministry and would begin working sometime this month.
According to the Labour Ministry, Saudi Arabia has deported around 900,000 workers over past 18 months. There are 7.5 million legal expatriate workers in Saudi Arabia and roughly 19 million Saudi nationals, according to the official Saudi census.
Under the new law companies that employ illegal workers are subject to heavy fines and prison sentences of up to two years for every illegal employee.