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.