Author: WALAA HAWARI | ARAB NEWS
Tuesday 6 September 2011
He was speaking at the launch of the program’s second stage on Tuesday at the Human Resources Development Fund’s (HRDF) headquarters.
Fakeih said media reports on the huge numbers of job applicants were wide off the mark and that an accurate figure would be provided in due course.
“Both the ministry and the fund’s initial estimation is around 1.5 million - half of them women,” he said, pointing out that the final figure could be affected by duplicate applications for the same job or applicants who are not eligible to apply in the first place.
The minister said final regulations, criteria and by-laws for applicants would be outlined within the next few weeks after being reviewed by a designated committee from both the ministry and the fund.
“We have consulted international experts regarding the regulations and studied other international experiences in this field,” said Fakeih.
During the second stage of Hafiz, applicants will receive a text message with a password to enable them to log onto the program’s website.
“The first stage involved initial registration for the program, and the second stage is to obtain all necessary details and personal information from applicants, including qualifications, previous experience and location,” said Ibrahim Al-Muaigl, director of HRDF.
He said that it is too early to determine whether applicants are eligible or accepted to the Hafiz program, as the program will only sort out applications based on the yet-to-be finalized regulations.
Hafiz is an initiative to help job seekers and is a way to demonstrate to citizens that the government is aware of unemployment and finding solutions, said Fakeih. He added that if the applicant can prove he or she is looking for a job, they will be eligible for financial assistance. Those who fail to do so will be excluded from the program.
“Hafiz is designed to be a 12-month program only,” said Al-Muaigl, pointing out that its main aim is not only to provide applicants with allowances, but also with the training to make them more attractive in the job market.
“The monthly allowance is a temporary solution, but after that other programs will be put in place to provide for those who were unfortunate in finding a job,” said Al-Muaigl, adding that the new initiatives would be revealed soon.
The third phase of Haifz will involve storing the data of applicants for the use of employers looking for workers.
“The database of applicants with their full information can also be used as references for researchers, administrative managers and businessmen as it will include qualifications, gender and location,” said the minister, adding that it will help businessmen meet Saudization targets.
Fakeih said Hafiz will analyze each applicant’s information to identify employment opportunities efficiently and at the same time provide beneficiaries with the necessary skills to turn them into an effective workforce.
Al-Muaigl said that should an applicant be ineligible for Hafiz, he or she has the right to question the decision as the fund has created an entire department to hear complaints and other feedback related to the service.
Fakeih said private companies that do not contribute to providing jobs for Saudis will undermine the government’s initiative to tackle unemployment.
“Hafiz is a comprehensive unemployment support program offering basic financial support as well as training and rehabilitation to equip Saudi men and women for the job market,” added Al-Muaigl.