About 2.6m foreign workers in the Kingdom are unskilled


Saudi Gazette report

There are more than 2.6 million unskilled expatriate workers in the Kingdom, Makkah daily reported on Wednesday quoting a high-ranking official of the Ministry of Labor and Social Development.

Naif Al-Omair, head of the ministry's vocational examination program, told a workshop in Dammam on Tuesday that the ministry would organize five stages for vocational tests, the first planned next month.

He said vocational theoretical and practical examinations would cover workers from seven countries which are India, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Egypt, Bangladesh and Pakistan.

"These countries export about 95 percent of the workers to the Kingdom," he said adding that there are eight training centers to hold the examinations in the central, western, eastern and southern regions.

Omair said examinations will be in Arabic, Hindi, Urdu and Filipino languages.

He explained that about 400,000 to 500,000 will sit for the vocational tests every year and they will have to pay fees ranging between SR400 and SR500.

Omair said the workers who pass the tests will be given a five-year certificates and added that the program allows for testing the workers at their homes before they arrive in the Kingdom.

According to him, there are 7.18 million expatriate workers in the Kingdom of whom about 3.1 million do not have higher certificates (less than diploma) while 1.55 million are working in various marginal jobs and 2.62 million do not have working skills.

He said workers from India will be examined in December while those from the Philippines will sit for the tests in May 2020 and workers from Sri Lanka and Indonesia in July 2020 and those from Egypt, Bangladesh and Pakistan in December 2021.