Saudi labor ministry plans new foreign manpower program

In this file photo, Laborer work to remove a pole outside a residential building in Riyadh on Feb. 9, 2016. (REUTERS)
Updated 14 November 2019

Saudi labor ministry plans new foreign manpower program

  • The Kingdom intends to gradually cancel labor visas issued under the previous system
  • Says it will prioritize certain occupational categories

ISLAMABAD: Saudi Arabia will introduce a new foreign manpower program starting next month by issuing visas for specific occupations, said Nayef Al-Omair, head of the vocational examination program at the Ministry of Labor and Social Development, in Riyadh on Tuesday.

Al-Omair noted that the ministry was categorizing the tasks and the structure of some professions for visa-issuing purposes. He also noted that the previous labor category system would be gradually be removed from the ministry’s system.

The new scheme will be optional for one year starting December 2019 after which it will become compulsory.

According to Al-Omair, the new program will be first applied to the manpower recruited from India due to it is a large size in the Saudi market.

However, it will cover seven countries, including India, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Egypt, Bangladesh, and Pakistan, since workers belonging to these states constitute 95 percent of the professional manpower in the Kingdom’s local market.

Ready to mentor Saudi cricketers on the kingdom’s request — Shahid Afridi

Updated 59 min 43 sec ago

Ready to mentor Saudi cricketers on the kingdom’s request — Shahid Afridi

  • Says cricket would be hugely popular in Saudi Arabia given that it is home to millions of Pakistani expats
  • Pakistani minister said this week Islamabad working on “practical steps” to promote cricket in Saudi Arabia 

KARACHI: Pakistani all-rounder and former skipper Shahid Khan Afridi has said he is ready to mentor Saudi cricketers if the kingdom seeks his help.
The comments come in the wake of a meeting between the ambassador of Saudi Arabia to Pakistan, Nawaf bin Said Al-Malki, and Pakistan’s Minister for Inter-Provincial Coordination, Dr. Fehmida Mirza, this month in which they discussed cooperation in the field of sports, with a focus on cricket.
“If I get a request [to train Saudi cricketers] I will definitely go as this is our own county and the people are our own,” Afridi said in an interview with Arab News at his home in Karachi this week.
The 40-year-old cricketer, fondly known as Boom Boom, captained the national team between 2009 and 2011, before retiring from international cricket in 2017. He is well-known for his philanthropic work across Pakistan and has formerly worked with UNICEF and a number of national organizations.
“I have been to Saudi Arabia previously,” he said, detailing his many trips to the Kingdom. “In my opinion there should be cricket [in Saudi Arabia]. There is our [Pakistani] community, which also likes to play cricket,” he said, referring to three million Pakistani expats who reside in the kingdom.
Pakistani minister Mirza said this week that Pakistan was working on “practical steps” to collaborate with Saudi Arabia to promote sports in the Kingdom, particularly cricket.
“I believe in sports diplomacy,” Mirza told Arab News in an interview on Monday. “The matter [of cooperation in cricket] has been taken with Ehsan Mani, chairman, Pakistan Cricket Board. We are working on practical steps to collaborate in promotion of sports, especially cricket.”
According to a statement issued by Mirza’s office, during her meeting with the Saudi ambassador last week, he said cricket was becoming popular in Saudi Arabia because of the Pakistan cricket team, which had a following in the country.
“We want to utilize Pakistan’s rich experience in the field of cricket and promote it in Saudi Arabia,” Al-Malki was quoted in the statement as saying.