Jeddah: The survival and existence of a foreign worker relies upon the validity of Iqama. when it expires the life of an expatriate comes to a standstill.
Iqama is an official ID document issued by the Saudi government. It is tied to a sponsor (employer), and acts as a residency card in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA). From birth to death, money, food and healthcare, all aspects of life would be adversely impacted, stranding workers without salaries, if Iqama expires.
Healthcare is one of the biggest concerns linked to the expiry of Iqama. The health insurance policy of expatriates, especially for blue-collar workers with chronic diseases, also expires with the expiry of Iqama.
180 Indian workers suffer
Such is the plight of 180 Indian workers belonging to the now defunct marble company in Riyadh. Their ordeal, after the expiry of their Iqama is touching hearts of many fellow Indians in the Saudi Arabia’s capital.
The workers, without any job and salaries were demanding to settle their arrears and repatriation, however, their employer failed to do so and workers filed a case in the court.
The distressed workers have been passing each day with difficulties, sometimes without food, let alone healthcare.
Telugu NRI body extends help
Telugu NRI community organization, SATA (Saudi Arabia Telugu Association) has reached out to the affected workers. Concerned over healthcare, as most of them are suffering from chronic disease, SATA has organised a health camp in collaboration with Jarir Medical Center on Friday, December 1.
“We have been providing groceries and other necessary items for some time to these workers. However, with the arrival of winter season, when health conditions of sick people worsen, we organised a health camp with the help of Jarir Medical Center and Prof. Khalid Salman,” said Muzammil Shaik, general secretary of SATA.
“The laxity among many poor workers about healthcare often leads to serious and complicated health issues. Also, the lack of medical insurance and appropriate health coverage by some firms also hinders their access to healthcare,” Prof. Khalid asserted.
Dr. Zain Rahman and Dr. Junaid volunteered to serve the patients by checking their health condition and conducting different examinations besides providing necessary medicines.
Usha Yeranna of SATA volunteered as a paramedic as she assisted in the form of nursing. Anand Pokuri, Surya Rao, Jani Basha, Yerranna, Samiullah, Marzuk Khan, Fareed Khan of SATA also rendered their services in conducting the health camp.