Recruitment of dentists from abroad halted

The purpose is to reduce unemployment among Saudi dentists and dental school graduates. (SPA)
Updated 10 May 2017
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Recruitment of dentists from abroad halted

JEDDAH: Dentist jobs will only be assigned to Saudis, as the Ministry of Labor and Social Development said Tuesday it would stop recruiting dentists from abroad.
The decision was made during a joint workshop between the ministries of labor and health, which discussed enhancing the private sector and empowering Saudis of both genders to work in the health sector.
The move will be coordinated by both parties, according to a post on the official Twitter account of the Labor Ministry.
The purpose is to reduce unemployment among Saudi dentists and dental school graduates.
Dentist Afnan Al-Sulami told Arab News that unemployment among Saudi dentists is “a major problem.”
She will finish her internship, a graduation requirement, next month before looking for jobs.
“It is very difficult to find a job as there’s an overflow in the number of dentists, Saudi and non-Saudi,” Al-Sulami said, adding that decreasing the number of non-Saudi dentists will allow more opportunities for Saudis.
Getting a job as a dentist in the governmental sector, which pays more than double the private sector, is highly competitive in Saudi Arabia due to low demand and high supply.
Private clinics and hospitals recruit non-Saudis because they receive lower salaries, “which reflects negatively on us,” Al-Sulami said.
“But now... they (private dental clinics) will have to recruit Saudis.”
If she does not get a job by the time she finishes her internship, she will have to pay to get trained at a public hospital.
This is what Merfal Al-Habbab had to do after she graduated from dental school in Jeddah and finished her internship in 2015.
She spent 10 months training at a public hospital, paying SR1500 ($400) a month.
“We graduated a class of 72 dentists. Very few of us are now employed,” Al-Habbab said.
Some of her male colleagues got government jobs in remote areas to escape unemployment.
The Jeddah-based dentist said very few government sector jobs became available since she graduated.
Al-Habbab, who now works at a private clinic, told Arab News that she and another colleague were the only Saudi dentists there.
She said the labor and health ministries’ decision will boost job opportunities for Saudi dentists, but low salaries in the private sector is another problem that needs to be addressed.
“Salaries are very low,” she said. “A graduate dentist can get a job at a public hospital for SR16,000-SR18,000, whereas in the private sector it is a range of SR5,000-SR8,000.” Al-Habbab added that a receptionist’s job would probably pay the same.
This salary is lower than the monthly allowance of the required internship, which is more than SR9,000. “There has to be a minimum wage for doctors and dentists working in the private sector so it becomes an attractive workplace for Saudis,” she said.
Around 10,150 dentists are registered at the Health Ministry, according to statistics released in 2014.
Last year, a jobless Saudi dentist filmed himself burning his dentistry certificate outside the Civil Service Ministry building in Hafr Al-Batin city because he could not find a government job.


King Salman meets with grand mufti and senior scholars

King Salman receives the grand mufti, scholars and a group of citizens at Al-Yamamah Palace in Riyadh on Monday. (SPA)
Updated 23 min 28 sec ago
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King Salman meets with grand mufti and senior scholars

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia's grand mufti, senior scholars and a group of citizens called on King Salman at Al-Yamamah Palace in Riyadh on Monday. 

The reception began with the recitation of verses from the Holy Qur’an. A number of senior ministers and top officials attended the meeting.  On Monday, King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman sent cables to offer condolences to Mauritanian President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz on the death of his predecessor Mahmoud Ould Ahmed Louly.

The king and the crown prince also sent cables to offer condolences to Indonesia President Joko Widodo on the death of people who were killed due to flooding in the Indonesian province of Papua.