Egypt briefed on Saudi decision to conduct skill assessment for foreign workers

Ahram Online , Tuesday 9 Mar 2021

The program aims to 'verify that workers have the necessary skills to master the professions in which they work,' according to a Saudi official

File Photo: Foreign labourers work at the construction site of a building in Riyadh. REUTERS

Saudi authorities have informed the Egyptian manpower ministry of a recent decision to conduct an assessment for foreigners who wish to work in the Kingdom to make sure they meet the job requirements, Al-Watan newspaper cited the ministry’s spokesman as saying.

The “Professional Verification” program, announced by the Saudi Ministry of Human Resources on Sunday, includes a written and a practical exam, according to a statement by the ministry.

The program aims to “verify that workers have the necessary skills to master the professions in which they work,” Saudi Human Resources Minister Ahmad bin Sulaiman Alrajhi said in a tweet on Sunday.

It will also “contribute to raising the quality and efficiency of the Saudi labor market,” he added.

The ministry explained that the program seeks to enhance productivity and stop the flow of unqualified workers to the Kingdom’s labor market.

The decision is set to come into effect and become mandatory as of July.

In remarks to Masrawy newspaper, Hamdy Imam, head of the division for recruiting Egyptian employment abroad at the Cairo Chamber of Commerce, said the Saudi decision does not apply to all professions.

Imam added that only blue-collar workers are included in the decision, including construction workers, craftsmen, carpenters and blacksmiths.

According to Egypt’s official statistical news agency CAPMAS in 2017, Saudi Arabia is the number one destination for the Egyptian expats among Arab countries.

The agency noted that 2.9 million Egyptians were residing in Saudi Arabia at the time, although this number has likely changed since Saudi Arabia imposed travel restrictions to avoid the spread of coronavirus.

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