RIYADH — Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development (MHRSD) launched on Monday the first phase of the Skill Verification Program (SVP) in Pakistan. Five professions, such as plumber, electrician, welder, refrigeration/air conditioning technician, and automobile electrician, were selected for the skill testing in the first phase of the external track of the program.
Pakistan’s Federal Minister for Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development Sajid Hussain Turi graced the launching ceremony held at the Saudi embassy in Islamabad in the presence of Saudi Ambassador Nawaf Al-Malki and other officials and diplomats.
Pakistan was the first country to utilize the Saudi skilled workers’ program. Under the program, a dozen examination centers will conduct written and practical tests of skilled workers in Pakistan before they could apply for a Saudi work visa. Speaking on the occasion, Malki said 12 examination centers have been established in collaboration between Takamol of MHRSD and Pakistan’s National Vocational and Technical Training Commission (NAVTCC) in eight different cities to conduct tests.
The MHRSD introduced SVP in July 2021 as part of regulating its labor market in the best possible manner. In December 2021, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan signed a landmark agreement for certification and employment of the Pakistani skilled workforce.
It is important to note that the largest number of Pakistani expatriate workforce, 2.5 million in number, is based in Saudi Arabia, which contributes substantially to Pakistan’s economy through the largest amount of foreign remittance. Most of the present Pakistani workforce in the Kingdom falls in the category of un-skilled or semi-skilled labor.
The SVP will enable the Pakistani skill workforce to have authentic and internationally recognized joint certification by both Takamol Saudi Arabia and NAVTTC Pakistan, through the Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) assessment. The SVP aims 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 centers, while the second track aims to examine professional labor before their arrival, and that is in cooperation with a number of accredited international examination centers.
The SVP seeks to be a leading contributor to the development of the professional workforce, according to international standards to meet the needs of the Saudi labor market, in addition to raising the quality of services and enhancing productivity in the labor market.