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Saudi Arabia to attract more skilled SL workers verifying skills

By: Staff Writer

Colombo (LNW):Saudi Arabia has launched the Skill Verification Program (SVP) in Sri Lanka as part of a scheme to attract more skilled workers from the island nation, foreign media reported.

The program has been initiated by Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development (MHRSD) under its Professional Accreditation Program.

Sri Lankans are hopeful that a new employment scheme with Saudi Arabia will help ease their country’s economic crisis, professionals and labor officials said adding that , they expect it to boost the nation’s manpower exports to the Kingdom.

Saudi Arabia and Sri Lanka recently signed an agreement on the Skill Verification Program which aims to improve the professional competence of employees in the Saudi labor market and streamline the recruitment process of skilled workers from the island nation.

Under the deal — which covers 23 professions, including electricians and auto mechanics — Saudi employers will recognize accreditations issued by Sri Lanka’s Tertiary and Vocational Education Commission.

“The TVEC has embarked on the assessment process where Saudi Arabia would tell us their manpower needs and Sri Lanka would choose the right candidates for the right courses,” commission director, Dr. Lalithadheera K. Arachchige, said.

For many years, Sri Lankan professionals have been working in Saudi Arabia without recognition of their professional certification and often enrolled in jobs below their qualifications. The new deal is expected to change that.

Abdul Nazar, managing director of Colombo-based recruitment company Air Kings Group who used to work in Jeddah, said Saudi Arabia had previously not recognized professionals from Sri Lanka “unless they have gone through the technical skill tests processed by the Saudi government.”

According to Saudi Gazette, workers in five professions, namely plumbers, electricians, refrigeration/air conditioning technicians, automobile mechanics and automobile electricians were selected for skill testing in the first phase of the external track of the program.

The first phase of the program plans to verify the skills of workers in five specializations out of 23 specialization targeted by the ministry, with the aim of improving the quality of professional manpower in the Saudi labour market and raising the level of professionalism.

Through this program, the Saudi government will enhance productivity, and halt the flow of unqualified professional labour into the kingdom’s labour market.

The objective of the program is to verify that workers in the targeted professions possess the necessary skills through two tracks – internal and international.

The first track aims to examine the skills of professional workers currently in the Kingdom and that is in cooperation with local examination centres, while the second track aims to examine professional labour before their arrival, and that is in cooperation with a number of accredited international examination centres.

The Saudi ministry has launched the program in Pakistan, India and Bangladesh. The SVP was introduced in July 2021 as part of regulating its labour market in the best possible manner.

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