Published:  12:29 AM, 19 September 2023

Saudi Arabia to recruit more skilled workers from BD for five sectors

Saudi Arabia to recruit more skilled workers from BD for five sectors
Saudi Arabia has shown interest to recruit more skilled workers from Bangladesh for five sectors. Bangladesh is preparing to send skilled workers to Saudi Arabia for the first time under the newly launched Skill Verification Program, authorities said on Sunday.

Under the Workers' Recruitment and Skill Verification Program, which aims to improve the professional competence of employees in the Saudi labor market, the Kingdom will recruit skilled workers from the South Asian country.

In its initial phase, the program will focus on five professions: Plumbers, electricians, welders, automotive electricians and air conditioning technicians.

The SVP deal between Saudi and Bangladeshi authorities came into effect this week.

"Saudi authorities will hire the first batch of skilled workers as a pilot program. One thousand migrant workers will be hired ... the number will be increased gradually. We are going to begin this recruitment process very soon," Mohammad Salah Uddin, training director at the Bangladeshi Bureau of Manpower Employment and Training, told Arab News.

"We are very well prepared. Initially, the Saudi authorities want to conduct the testing process of migrant workers in the capital. Later on, we will expand the testing process outside of Dhaka, in accordance with our capacity and demand."

The bureau has 95 training centers and will soon launch another 15, Uddin said.

"We have sufficient infrastructure and capability to prepare skilled workers as per demand from the Saudi authorities."

BRAC, the largest development organization based in Bangladesh, sees the employment of skilled workers as a new trend in the country's work migration.

"I think the migration process in the coming days will follow this system. All the migrant-receiving countries will ask for skilled workers. All of our training centers run by the government and private organizations need to strengthen their efforts in this regard," Shariful Hasan, head of BRAC's migration program, told Arab News.

"Most of our migrant workers are currently unskilled, and they don't have any kind of certificate to be considered skilled workers. They don't receive training from any training center and get employed as unskilled workers. The new initiative opens a horizon of prospects," Hasan told Arab News.
With about 2 million people joining the Bangladeshi workforce every year, having at least a fourth of that number trained should not be a problem for the South Asian nation.

"If the government takes the initiative to prepare at least half a million people as skilled workers, I don't see any problems with it. We have technical training centers at the grassroots level also. There is no point in providing conventional university degrees to all the youth. Rather, if we equip many of them with technical knowledge, it will bring good results in the long run," Hasan said.

"It's an opportunity since the workers will get a higher salary as skilled workers and their migration costs will be reduced significantly."

About 2.8 million Bangladeshi nationals live in Saudi Arabia, with most employed in low-profile jobs at construction sites or as household staff. They play a significant role in the Bangladeshi economy by sending large amounts of remittances home, contributing more than 5 percent to the country's gross domestic product.

Riyadh's Ambassador to Dhaka, Essa Al-Duhailan, told reporters in the Bangladeshi capital on Tuesday evening that the new employment program would guarantee higher salaries for Bangladeshis - at least double those of average workers.

"If he is an ordinary worker, he might get SR800 ($213) to 1,000, but a skilled worker will get SR1,500 to 1,800, or even more," Al-Duhailan said.

"His remittance will be higher because the salary will be higher. It will contribute to strengthening the Bangladesh economy."

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