Government releases dos and don’ts for Indian workers in Saudi Arabia


Among various other prohibitions, a prominent one is that workers should not have any obscene content on their phones or laptops.


The Indian government has just announced a list of dos and don’ts for Indian workers moving to or seeking to work in Saudi Arabia. Among various other prohibitions, one which appears to be quite prominent is that workers should not have any obscene content in their phones or laptops.

Saudi Arabia strictly prohibits sorcery and witchcraft and considers it a punishable offense with severe penalties, including death. Hence, the advisory states that workers should refrain from carrying anything that hints at black magic.

For instance, the black threads that Indians wear for religious reasons may also get them into trouble. The advisory clearly states, ‘do not carry any ‘taweez’ (amulet) or black thread that could be construed as part of black magic rituals.

In addition, narcotic drugs, food items containing pork, poppy seeds, khat leaves, pan masala, and text related to any religion other than Islam, also appear on the list of items that are better avoided.

With around 30 lakh people emigrating for jobs, Saudi Arabia attracts a large number of Indians. However, a lot of them get arrested or fired for breaking laws.

In line with that, the advisory is the government’s attempt to help people get accustomed to local customs and laws that are often punishable with jail time, and can put them in unnecessary trouble, if defied.

Earlier, the government had warned Indians against Recruitment Agents (RAs), who could dupe them in a number of ways, such as by not handing over their contracts or inflating their fees. According to new guidelines, RAs cannot take a service charge of more than Rs 20,000.

Furthermore, the Saudi law warrants that employers bear expenses, such as visa fee and air tickets for foreign employees. They have been told to ensure that the employment contract mentions these details in both Arabic and English, before a person leaves India.

The labour ministry of Saudi Arabia now gives free phone SIM cards to all foreign employees. Hence, the government has advised Indian workers heading to Saudi Arabia to carry a mobile phone — preferably an inexpensive smart phone.

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