Saudi Arabia to cancel “worker” visa once and for all

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Saudi Ministry of Labor and Social Development: Saudi Arabia to cancel “worker” visa once and for all and occupation adjustment is necessary and vocational examination is carried out in December.

Nayef Al-Omair, director of the Saudi Ministry of Labor and Social Development, said that the ministry is working on a program to classify the professions and structure some of them and their names in residences and visas, noting that “worker” visa or profession will be cancelled once and for all in the near future, requiring professions be amended by companies.

Al-Omair explained, on the sidelines of a workshop yesterday in Asharqia Chamber to review the details and developments of the “vocational screening program”, which will be applied only to foreign workers that the application of the program will be optional for a year starting next December, before it is mandatory; however, extending the optional application may be considered.

Al-Omair said that the fees of the “vocational examination program” will be between SAR450 and 600 internally, while externally will be between SAR100 and 150, within selected centers abroad. The fees will be first applied on workers from India from seven countries, due to the high number of workers from it.

Al-Omair noted that the seven countries are: India in the first stage, then the Philippines for the second stage, and the third and fourth stage to include Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Egypt, Bangladesh and Pakistan, where the employment of these countries presents 95% of the professional workers recruited.

Al-Omair pointed out that the first stage will be from the plumbing and electricity professions, next December, which numbered more than 200,000 workers in the market, the second stage in April 2020 for professions of refrigeration, air conditioning, auto electricity, and mechanics, the third stage in July 2020 for professions of carpentry, blacksmithing and welding, and the fourth stage in October 2020 for professions of painting, tiling, and finally in January 2021 for construction professions and technicians.

The program aims to raise the quality of services in the labor market, to ensure that unskilled labor does not flow into the Saudi market, strengthen partnership with the private sector, follow up the contributions of vocational examination in improving the skills of the labor force, and verify that the professional worker possess the necessary skills for the profession.