Green light for Saudi women diplomats

Updated 09 January 2015

Green light for Saudi women diplomats

The Foreign Ministry does not oppose the notion of having Saudi women serve as ambassadors overseas, a ministry official has said.
Women can fill these senior positions as long as they have the qualifications to do so, said Osama Nugali, spokesman of the ministry. He said senior ministry officials and Shoura Council members would discuss the issue at an upcoming council meeting, including funding programs for employees abroad.
He said the ministry has been employing Saudi women for the past 10 years, with more than 370 working abroad as undersecretaries or attaches. He also announced that the ministry has opened its doors for women seeking jobs in the diplomatic corps from Jan. 18 to 30.
Candidates should submit their applications on www.mofa.gov.sa. Interviews and written examinations would take place on Feb. 15 and 16 at the Prince Salman bin Abdulaziz Exhibition Hall at Imam Muhammad Islamic University in Riyadh.
The ministry said hiring would be done on merit. The regulations stipulate that applicants have to be Saudi, have good character, not convicted for breach of honor or trust, and not have been sacked from government service. Another condition is that an applicant should not be married to a non-Saudi.
They should also be of good health and pleasing appearance.
An applicant should have a bachelor’s degree at very good grade and not be above 30. Those seeking employment as a second secretary should not be above 35 and have a master’s degree at a very good grade.
Their majors must include political science, law, economics, public relations, journalism, international relations, English, French, Spanish, or international business management. Those candidates with qualifications from foreign universities should have their certificates accredited by the Ministry of Higher Education.
The ministry will accept an application only if it is accompanied by certified qualifications, a copy of the civil status card and a recent photograph. Selected candidates will have to undergo training of six months at the Institute of Diplomatic Studies in Riyadh with a monthly stipend of SR1,500. They should also be willing to work at a Saudi mission abroad.
Meanwhile, Nugali said that he does not have any information on the latest Shoura report regarding the ministry’s lack of initiative in addressing requests by nine African countries to improve ties with the Kingdom. He said he would look into the matter.


Technical glitches on Absher prevent exempt Saudis from traveling abroad

Updated 27 September 2020

Technical glitches on Absher prevent exempt Saudis from traveling abroad

  • On Sept. 13, the Saudi government issued a list of categories of people permitted to travel outside of the Kingdom
  • However, only a few days after the announcement, many students, patients and other exempted residents were unable to apply due to a technical fault on Absher

JEDDAH: Absher, the “one-stop shop” web-portal for Saudi government services, has been experiencing technical glitches that have left many citizens and expats unable to travel, despite them meeting the “exceptional case” categories outlined by the Interior Ministry more than two weeks ago.
Earlier this year and as part of its response to COVID-19, the Saudi government suspended all international flights to and from the Kingdom in a move that has successfully reduced infections across the country.
On Sept. 13, the Saudi government issued a list of categories of people permitted to travel outside of the Kingdom. These include diplomats, humanitarian cases, Saudis who live outside the Kingdom for work or study, among others. To be able to leave the country an eligible individual must apply — with supporting documents — for a permit to the passport authority.
However, only a few days after the announcement, many students, patients and other exempted residents were unable to apply due to a technical fault on Absher.
“The option to request the permit suddenly vanished from the relevant page, so while you could access Absher you just couldn’t submit your request. I tried every day for nearly two weeks,” said a Saudi woman who holds residency in a neighboring country. She added that while there was no announcement, the only information that she read in the local press was that the service was facing technical glitches.
“Yesterday, they announced that Absher was back but said that new requirements were set,” she said. “These include providing a copy of the residency card abroad and proof that an applicant has lived out of the Kingdom for six months every year for the past three years. In addition they requested a copy of my tenancy contract.”
“I spent all day collecting the documents. When I tried to upload the PDF the first time it told me that the file was too big, so I went to find software to reduce the size and when I finally managed to do so, I couldn’t log in as the whole website was down with a message saying that it was either temporarily unavailable or that they were serving someone else,” she said.
Other people, including one Saudi cancer patient who is due to return for treatment in Germany, spoke of the same technical glitches. When Arab News tried to log on to verify earlier today, it was unable to with an automated message that said “currently we are serving others, please try again later.”  The problem seems to have been resolved for some users by 10 pm.