Profession change allowed

Expats heave a sigh of relief as ministry lifts year-old ban on change of job titles

July 26, 2018

Irfan Mohammed

Saudi Gazette

— Employers can now change expat workers’ job titles mentioned on their iqamas (residence permits).

The Ministry of Labor and Social Development (MLSD) on Sunday (July 22) lifted an year-old ban on the change of professions.

The move is believed to pave the way for applying a new occupation matrix and allowing profession change based on the standard classification and sub-classification of occupations which will be enforced in the new Hijri year.

Applications for profession change should be submitted online at the ministry’s portal. Job titles will not be changed if they are not in line with the occupation matrix system and the labor rules, said ministry’s spokesman Khaled Aba Al-Khail.

The new system links the Saudi Council of Engineers, the Saudi Commission for Health Specialties and the Saudi Organization for Certified Public Accountants to make sure the worker has a professional certification in the engineering, medical and accounting fields.

The ministry seeks to regulate the labor market, serve customers better and provide accurate data related to occupations, Aba Al-Khail said.

The authorities seek to ensure that professionals in certain sectors possess prescribed qualifications and skills to handle jobs assigned to them.

One of the requirements for obtaining a professional license is to pass the practitioners’ classification test, which classifies and evaluates a candidate’s qualifications to determine the professional level and ensure competence.

The Saudi Engineering Council, the Saudi Commission for Health Specialties and the Saudi Organization for Certified Public Accountants have been actively engaged in determining the qualifications of job holders in their respective fields.

Tasneef that works with the Human Resources Development Fund (Hadaf) of the Ministry of Labor and Social Development has identified 6,000 job titles where it plans to apply International Classification of Occupations to enhance the competence of workforce.

The International Standard Classification of Occupations 2008 provides a system for classifying and aggregating occupational information obtained by means of statistical censuses and surveys as well as from administrative records.

It is a four-level hierarchically structured classification that allows all jobs in the world to be classified into 436 unit groups.

These groups form the most detailed level of the classification structure and are aggregated into 130 minor groups, 43 sub-major groups and 10 major groups, based on their similarity in terms of the skill level and skill specialization required for the jobs.

Prior to the ban on change of profession in 2017, a total of 805,641 expatriates changed their job titles in three years. Asian expatriates at 65% topped the list of those who changes their iqama professions, according to a local media report.

July 26, 2018
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