Monday, January 23, 2012

Registration of Engineers in Saudi Arabia

My earlier post (click here) on changing the job profession evoked such a massive response that I decided to do a follow-up article on a related subject. This one relates to the registration of engineers working in Saudi Arabia.

For the past few years, we keep hearing that unless people holding "Engineer" as a profession in their iqamas register themselves with the Saudi Council of Engineers, their iqamas would not be renewed. In the past, this was never implemented strictly due to a variety of reasons. And those reasons are valid even today.

First is the practicality of this decision. Let's say you have an expatriate engineer with years of experience behind him. There is no question of suspecting his credentials because otherwise his employer would have sacked him immediately. So, is it really worth all the effort in making existing engineers undergo the registration process?

Next is the credibility of the Council itself. The intentions may be good (regulating engineers in the kingdom, blah blah) but how qualified and experienced are the people running this, to accredit other engineers? Professional regulatory authorities such as General Medical Council in the UK, Medical Council of India, Philippine Medical Association, etc., are all highly respected because they follow internationally accepted standards and comprise of individuals who are highly qualified and have several decades of experience behind them. Just take one look at the SCE user manual and you will know what I mean. The very first sentence reads  "Saudi Council of Engineers ......without the need of a visit to SCE fro submission of the applications". Give me a break, someone please conduct a crash course in spell check and English to these people before they start accrediting engineers!

You don't need to be a genius to conclude that this is nothing but a money-making exercise. Their accreditation fees is SR 1250 for engineers, SR1700 for associate engineers, SR 2300 for professional engineers and SR 2800 for consultant engineer. And I thought that all engineers were "professionals". So, if you are an unprofessional engineer you get to pay less! Some standard!

What is this whole exercise for? And to prove to whom? Does it mean that those who do not register themselves are not engineers? Then what about the attestation on the original certificate done by the Saudi embassy back home? That attestation is done only after the Education Ministry certifies that the particular certificate is original. So, does the attestation by the Saudi embassy have no value?

It is common knowledge that most expatriates work in Saudi Arabia with iqama professions not exactly matching their actual job titles. This is probably the biggest cause of heartburn, as people are unable to bring their families into the kingdom simply because their iqama has a non-supervisory title. I had written earlier about this in detail (click here). I have been getting several mails from people who are on Engineer visa, but who are in reality not engineers. Not their fault. Their sponsors simply brought them on whichever visa was available and since engineers were entitled to bring their families, they were simply issued those visas and and when they became available. Now what happens if their iqamas do not get renewed because SCE does not accredit these non-engineers?

For those expats who are on an engineer visa, but who really are not engineers, I would suggest the following. Anyway it is your sponsor's responsibility to do the iqama renewal, so at the first shot let him do all the running around in submitting your documents. If your iqama does get renewed, well and good. If not, I would suggest you to submit ALL your qualification certificates and documents to Saudi Council of Engineers. Let SCE do the job of reviewing your documents. If they reject your documents, you will get a message from them to collect the so-called "Non-registration" letter from their office. This letter must be submitted to the passport office to process the profession change in your iqama. The best part is that the rejection letter will be addressed to your sponsor and not to you, so once again the responsibility will shift to your sponsor. The only problem then, would be whether your sponsor has enough supervisory category visas so that you can continue to be with your families. The coming days are going to see quite some activity, so watch out this space for updates.


anasfk said...

Hello Expat Guru, Appreciate your effort again for a timely selection of subject.
This drama (SCE reg. bla..bla..bla..) going on since last one year. I do remember when my Iqama renewed on March 2010, i had been undergone this ridiculous procedure and they have issued one letter addressed to Jawazath (that confirm i am a genuine engineer) to allow my iqama renewal process. our company PRO returned that letter and told me that its not required any more and they changed the policy!!!!. any way as the fee paid by company (it was SR 1400) , i don't worried at all. After that i received many email from them (Arabic Only) related to their activities and election process. Here i am wondering that, how could they use Arabic as their communication language as most of the expatriates are non-Arabic speaking!!!. Here is the importance of EG's words "someone please conduct a crash course in spell check and English to these people before they start accrediting engineers!"

Now a days there is a new version of drama coming up.
Every engineers should pass an examination (course fee 5900 SR and Exam fee SR 3000) to get renewal of Iqama!!

Will see how the things will work out this time....

Expatguru said...


Thanks for sharing this. I believe all this stems from just one thing - Greed. When you go through the SCE website, you just find one overbearing word repeated several times - Pay!

Fruitful Fusion said...

We experienced this!

Najam said...

Dear Expatguru,
Thanks a lot for starting your blog
again! We missed you alot :)

I fully agree with you that as Engineers' degree is attested at their home country by Local Education Department, Foreign Office and Saudi Embassy so there is no point to attest it again.

And still if they have good reason for this then they should not ask for too high fees.

Can you please confirm how much time this SCE Registration takes after uploading the documents?


Expatguru said...


It is impossible to predict the time exactly and depends on the mood of the guy who is processing your documents!

Anonymous said...

Dear expat guru,

Thank you for sharing very valubale information.

I am an engineer and profession on my iqama is engineer also.
Before I came here I have attested from saudi consulate as a saudi cultural stamp.

So, it is also required for me to register in SCE, If yes then please guide me.

Please tell me the documents reuqired for registering in SCE.

Is it only our degree (B.E) certificate required or in addition to B.E, all our experinece certifcates are required to be added to those documents.

Thanks for guiding us.

Expatguru said...


Please fill in your query in the form using the link in the top right corner of this blog. I charge a nominal fee for my consultancy, which would get you a detailed, personalized reply by email.

Anonymous said...

Dear Expatguru,

I just want to register with Saudi Engineering Council (as my application is accepted), by profession I am an engineer and also holding MBA Degree.
Is it possible to register myself at Saudi Engineering Council without limiting myself to get Engineering Profession on my Iqama, as currently I am a student. Because I would like to get the professional status based on my MBA degree not on Engineering Degree. So registering with Saudi Engineering Council will limit me to get Engineering Profession only, or I will be open to choose any other available profession based on MBA degree like marketing specialist?
Will appreicate your guidance!

Expatguru said...


Please fill in your query in the form using the link in the top right corner of this blog. I charge a nominal fee for my consultancy, which would get you a detailed, personalized reply by email.

Anonymous said...

expat guru how much do we owe to u buddy!! thanks for the article. i am stuck with a non engineering degree but a engineering iqama. reading your article was a bit relief that i can change my profession. thanks.

Anonymous said...

Come on guru, u r abusing SCE for charging money, n u urself r not for free. Come on man.

Expatguru said...


I never "abused" SCE. My charge against them is simple. They are a monopoly and are simply making money by forcing engineers to get their accreditation. Their policy is "Pay up or else you lose your iqama".

In my case, I need not justify why I am charging money to anyone, because this is my blog. I need to put a value for personalized consultancy, because I spend time on individual cases. Otherwise my Inbox is flooded with requests like "I need a job in Saudi. This is my CV", etc. I am not an employment agency, just another expat and I make it absolutely clear that I am in no way connected with the Government. So, it is not compulsory that you have to go only through me, unlike SCE. The world will still continue to rotate and the sun will still rise in the east. But if you need me to spend time on your query, you have to pay up, because my time comes with a price. So, hope you see the difference!

By the way, do you ever ask your doctor why he is charging a fee? Don't you pay up his consultation charges? Of course you have a right to chose your doctor, unlike SCE!

Anonymous said...

Hello Expatguru,

my husband is currently applying for an engineering position in one of the university here in riyadh. I heard there are 2 engineering applicants who are still pending due to no visa issuance because of the current situation now in Middle East abt these illegal expats. I just wonder if they will still issue "engineer visa" for expats especially Filipinos?? I am so worried because the recruitment cannot push through his application because of the unavailability of the visa. They said engineer applicants had been put on hold since august this year,since the ministry are not giving any visa at all. Do you have any idea or information abt this?
Your prompt response is highly appreciated :)
God Bless You!

Expatguru said...


What you heard is true. Currently, applicants for engineer visa is on hold because the Government first wants to stabilize things because of the illegals issue. A lot of people who were working on engineer visas were found to be not engineers at all. Hence this decision. I know it is like burning the house to kill a bedbug, but then you need to have patience. I expect things to improve in a month or two.

Anonymous said...

,,anyone would know how roughly would it take to hear from them after paying the SR. 500?? ,, and what happens if the Iqama would expire before I hear from the SCE?? Appreciate your feedback!