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Hundreds seek work at job fair

Hundreds of expatriate workers turned up yesterday seeking jobs on the first day of a job fair organized by the Riyadh Chamber of Commerce and Industry (RCCI) at the city's convention center.
The five-day “Job Status Correction Fair” saw more than 200 Riyadh-based companies participating. It will be held until Wednesday from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day.
An RCCI official said the fair was organized to help expatriates find jobs before the July 3 amnesty deadline. The four countries participating in the fair are India, Bangladesh, Egypt and the Philippines.
The private sector companies looking for personnel were from various industries including construction, food and maintenance.
The official said there was strong demand for construction workers, shuttering carpenters, masons, steel fixers, plumbers, electricians, heavy equipment operators, accountants, and mechanical, civil and electrical engineers.
Personnel manager of the Saudi Arabian Trading and Construction Company (SATCO) Mohammed Zubair told Arab News that his company has jobs available in more than 25 categories. “This is for walk-in interviews, we select the candidate on the spot and start processing the transfer of iqamas immediately,” he said.
Surinder Bhegat, second secretary for politics and commerce at the Indian Embassy, told Arab News that some 50 companies have set up stalls at the embassy pavilion. “The response from the workers and from the companies is huge.”
More than 500 workers arrived looking for jobs during the first four hours of the event. “We hope to get more workers and companies coming in the next few days,” he added.
The Indian pavilion also has five counseling desks. “The officers at these desks advise workers how to go about processing their iqama transfers,” Bhegat said. He said around 100,000 Indian workers are going through the process under the amnesty scheme.
Amr Emad Al-Najdi, labor officer at the Egyptian embassy, said the mission has processed around 60,000 worker documents out of his country's 1.2 million work force in the Kingdom.
Endadul Haque, labor counselor of the Bangladesh Embassy, said more than 10 companies have approached Bangladesh workers for various projects. “Most of them need technical and skilled workers and professionals such as accountants,” he said.
Under the ongoing amnesty, a total of 166,480 Bangladeshi expatriates have obtained their documents processed at their country's missions in Riyadh and Jeddah. The documents processed included new passports, renewal of passports, outpasses and 20,000 travel permits. A large contingent of officers from Dhaka have been seconded to assist the missions in Riyadh and Jeddah.
In addition to the consular services offered in Riyadh, the Bangladesh Embassy has also organized consular services in Jubail, Al-Ahsa, Dammam, Al-Jouf, Saqaka and Al-Qassim.
The Jeddah consulate, which has processed 83,000 applicants, has also offered consular services in Khamis Mushayt, Jazan, Najran, Tabuk, Yanbu, Al-Baha and Madinah.
An official from the Philippine Embassy said the mission has already informed its workers and expects a good turnout today.
There were no immigration and labor department officials at the job fair.

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