B. Ravi Pillai
Dr. B. Ravi Pillai, is an Indian industrialist. He is the Managing Director of the Naseer S.l Hajri Corporation (NSH) and Petrochem, Saudi Arabia. He received the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman award from the Government of India, and was the first Bahrain-based businessman to win the Padma Shri award from the Government of India. He is born at chavara, Kollam.
With more than 25,000 Indians on the rolls of Nasser S Al-Hajri Corporation, Mr Ravi Pillai, the MD and one of the founders of the company, has earned the distinction of being the largest employer of Indians in the Gulf. The company is engaged in construction jobs at oil and gas refineries and petrochemical companies in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain and UAE.
MNCs come to us to get their jobs done and we’re today a very well-known player. When I set up the company 29 years ago, we started with 150 employees while now we employ over 35,000. The turnover of the company is $2.5 billion,” says Mr Pillai who plans to scale up over the next three months and induct another 20,000 Indians.
While the company is a leading player in the Gulf region for construction jobs in the oil and gas industry, it has diversified into other sectors such as steel and cement plants.
Our clients include large corporations from the US, Japan and Korea and while 80% of our workforce is from India, we do have difficulties in some of the Gulf states which give only 20% of the total available visas to workers from one particular country,” says Mr Pillai, who received the Pravasi Samman award which is given to overseas Indians in recognition of their service to the community.
Over the years, Mr Pillai has built up a relationship of trust with the various governments in the Gulf region because of the huge success of his company. As a result, workers who get jobs with his company don’t have too much of a problem getting their visas and work permits.
“We employ people from all over India in various kinds of jobs. From engineers, doctors and safety personnel to welders, fabricators and fitters, we need people with all kinds and levels of skills,” Mr Pillai says. And though he’s lived in West Asia for 30 years, Mr Pillai is still a citizen of India. “There are over 50 lakh Indians working in the Gulf countries and they send back foreign remittances worth billions of dollars . I think that’s something to be very proud of,” he says.
Besides providing jobs for thousands of Indians in the Gulf, Mr Pillai is engaged in philanthropic activities in India and has set up the Upasana Hospital and Research Centre in Kerala, which gives free treatment to the poor.