Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Skill test for Iqama renewal in Saudi Arabia

Not a single week passes before some wise guy in the kingdom gets a new idea. This time, it is the announcement that starting from end March, 2013, all expatriates would compulsorily have to undergo a skill test if they want their iqamas to be renewed!

Not only this, even expats who come on fresh visas to the kingdom would be subjected to this skill test. And this includes even laborers! In other words, expats who are on labor visa (but who in reality are not laborers) would also be subjected to the skill test.

Now I really wonder what kind of skill is expected from a laborer. The poor guys who earn a pittance of as low as SR500 per month, most of whom are illiterate, will be forced to give a computerized test which will consist of multiple choice questions. The announcement that those foreigners failing in the test "would be given one more chance" proves how generous they are! What happens to those who fail the second time too? The implicaiton from the announcement is that they would have to leave, because their iqamas would not be renewed.

Now, who is the one going to administer this test? It is an agency with a fancy name called "Technical and Vocational Training Corporation". I just Googled this name and visited their website thinking it would give some more information. Well, they do have the 'latest' news which is someone congratulating someone else and their website getting some award in 2011!  Some useful information, finally.

I had mentioned in my earlier post (click here) on a similar futile attempt aimed at engineers in Saudi Arabia. The fundamental question here is, how competent is this organization in the first place,  to test expatriates? Isn't it as stupid as a person saying that since he holds the ticket, the train would not move?

The TVTC was originally intended to give vocational training only to Saudis. However, this new announcement linking it to iqama renewal not only sets a dangerous precendent, but is also unhealthy for Saudi economy. If a person is not qualified / trained, then why to hire him in the first place? The reason why an expatriate is required to work here is because they cannot find a suitable Saudi to do that, right? Rather than correcting this, here comes a brainwave - the root cause of all evils are expatriates, so make them undergo this test (in other words, a new way to make money). Someone please intervene and stop such announcements bordering on lunacy.


Tony Ratcliffe said...

Hi. thanks for this info. Is there a chance you can post a link to the announcement of the planned requirement? Thanks.

Expatguru said...


It came in all the newspapers today. Anyway, since you asked it, here you go:


,,,,,,,,,,,,,,gggggggggg said...

it is not a wonder in a country like saudi arabia where a man who works in laundry and handling most dirty clothes should definitely have a baladiya id. in a boofia we can understand but in a laundry what for?

Anonymous said...

Saudi is primarily for all those incompetent people from subcontinent. If they have the test all these will be expelled.

Now, comes the real issue, why the heck on earth any competent person will come to Saudi for a job when he is welcomed in Australia, Singapore, US, UK and many other developed nations where he gets respect, money, citizenship etc.

So, this will not work out. Its a mutual benefit for less skilled plus incompetent engineers/doctors.

Moral: Don't worry if you are competent, u have other options and if you are an confidenceless/incompetent person than middle east is always there for you :)


Anonymous said...

1) This is a reply to Anonymous about the incompetency of subcontinent people.I completely do not agree with his point of view that all people form subcontinent are incompetent. I think he is Saudi or Arab why’s he hide his name . The real fact is the subcontinent made this country at the present stage. All the worker in construction are Pathans (Pakistani) & they are very strong and worked in the hot & cold weather day/night. Majority of eng & doctors studied form aboard, worked in ksa are from subcontinent . will Saudi work in tough conditions. If the subcontinent people leave this country, their streets will full of garbage. Will Saudi work to clean that garbage???. In periphery in all hospital & places there are subcontinent people. Only hurdle is the we lack Arabic language.

2) The developed countries (Australia, Singapore, US, UK and many other) If they are taking the tax they are also providing all the facilities which in third world specially the subcontinent , are taken by the government. So the people are forced to come to gulf for money.

3) You can look the example of U.A.E , where the subcontinent people worked so hard & make the one of best countries in the world.