India becomes second beneficiary of Saudi visa program for skilled workers

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RIYADH: Indian plumbers, electricians, and welders are among a select group of workers who will soon be able to take part in a new pilot programme to secure a visa to work in Saudi Arabia.

According to the Saudi Press Agency, the Kingdom’s Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development has announced plans to launch the Skill Verification scheme in India, making the South Asian country the second beneficiary of the program for skilled workers after it was rolled out in Pakistan in September.

The program’s pilot phase is set to kick off in the country’s capital New Delhi, as well as the largest city and commercial capital Mumbai, and will also include refrigeration and air conditioning technicians, and automobile electricians.

Under the program, examination centers will conduct written and practical tests for skilled workers in India before they could apply for a Saudi work visa to verify that they are capable of working in the profession they were recruited for.

This comes as the MHRSD aims to raise the professional competency of skilled workers in the Saudi employment market.

In turn, this will also elevate productivity, the quality of their work, and bring down the inflow of unqualified workers into the labor market.

Amid efforts to further develop the skills of the workforce in line with international standards and in order to meet domestic demand in the labor market, the MHRSD is eyeing 23 specializations by the near future.

The Skilled Verification Program was launched back in March 2021 by the MHRSD in partnership with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Technical and Vocational Training Corporation to guarantee the proficiency of skilled workers in the Saudi labor market.

It aims to make the Saudi labor market more attractive by granting foreign workers the right to change jobs and leave the country without employers’ permission.

Saudi Arabia is seeking to boost its private sector, part of an ambitious plan to diversify its oil-dependent economy. The country’s Vision 2030 reform plan is a package of economic and social policies designed to free the Kingdom from reliance on oil exports.

— arabnews