ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and Saudi Arabia on Sunday signed two agreements on worker recruitment and skill verification to enhance the protection and job security of Pakistani nationals in the kingdom, the Pakistani foreign office said.
Saudi Arabia is home to over 2.5 million Pakistani expatriates and one of the largest sources of remittance to the South Asian nation.
On Saturday, Pakistan’s education minister Shafqat Mahmood arrived in Riyadh on a four-day visit on the invitation of his Saudi counterpart Hamad bin Mohammed Al-Sheikh.
The agreement on recruitment of workers was signed by the Saudi Deputy Minister for International Affairs Dr. Adnan bin Abdullah Alnuaim and Pakistan’s Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Lt. Gen. (retired) Bilal Akbar.
The agreement “encompassed a mutually acceptable recruitment, deployment and repatriation system for Pakistani workers seeking employment in Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” a draft available with Arab News said.
Besides compliance of applicable laws, rules and regulations, the agreement ensures better job security and dispute resolution mechanism for Pakistani workers, and protection from exploitation at the hands of employers.
“The Agreement on Workers’ Recruitment will contribute toward further streamlining the process of export of workforce from Pakistan in diverse professions in the Kingdom, while safeguarding their due rights and providing comprehensive legal protection to Pakistani workers employed in Saudi Arabia,” the Pakistani foreign office said in a statement.
“The agreement will also help in resolving contractual disputes and taking legal recourse against recruitment offices, companies or agencies for any violation.”
The agreement on skill verification program covers the certification of skills and required qualifications of Pakistani workers seeking employment in the Kingdom.
It requires “conduct of theoretical and practical tests in fields of specialization, components of force majeure and resolution of disputes and intellectual property right issues of the workers,” the draft read.
The Pakistani foreign office said the agreement on skill verification would “enhance export of skilled and certified Pakistani workforce to the Kingdom.”
“Certification for our skilled manpower will create opportunities for technical workforce in Pakistan to get internationally recognized trainings and certifications,” it said.
The signing of these agreements paves the way to build strategic partnerships and complementary relations between Pakistani and Saudi ministries, the draft added.