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Cairo: Thailand has voiced readiness to provide Saudi Arabia with around 8 million skilled workers as ties between both countries have warmed in recent months, a Saudi newspaper has reported.

The workers are to man several sectors including healthcare, construction and hotels, Okaz added.

Members of parliamentary friendship committees from both countries met this week for online talks and discussed a host of issues of mutual interest amid a thaw and growing links between Riyadh and Bangkok after decade-long strains, the paper said.

During the talks, both sides stressed importance of bolstering ties in different domains and exchanging visits by officials from the two panels, the official Saudi news agency SPA reported.

Last June, Saudi Arabia’s Shoura Council approved an agreement to employ Thai workers in the kingdom earlier reached between the Saudi Ministry of Human Resources and the Thai Ministry of Labour.

The pact was part of measures adopted by the two ministries to lay down a legal framework for Thais’ employment in Saudi Arabia.

The step also aimed to protect rights of workers and employers, regulate their contractual relation and devise follow-up and implementation mechanisms of the agreement.

200,000 to be hired annually

Last March, both ministries signed two agreements on employing Thai labour and domestic workers in Saudi Arabia as part of efforts to develop ties between the two countries.

Also that month, Saudi Arabia lifted a ban on its citizens’ travel to Thailand amid growing ties between the two countries after they restored full diplomatic links earlier this year.

Around 200,000 Thai workers are expected to be hired annually in the kingdom, according to the Saudi Federation of Chambers.

In January, Saudi Arabia and Thailand agreed to fully restore diplomatic ties between the two countries and to exchange ambassadors for the first time in around 32 years.

The move was agreed during a landmark official visit by Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha to Riyadh where he met Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman.

The Saudi national carrier, Saudia, also relaunched its flights between the kingdom and Thailand, carrying Thai Muslims to perform Umrah or lesser pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia.

In November, Prince Mohammad paid an official visit to Thailand where he met King Maha Vajiralongkorn Phra Vajiraklaochaoyuhua.

He also held talks with Chan-o-cha and attended the exchange of a number of memorandums of understanding between the two governments.

The Saudi crown prince’s three-day visit was part of a tour that also took him to Indonesia and South Korea.