Saudi Arabia to appoint two labor attachés to Pakistan and India this year

Saudi Arabia to appoint two labor attachés to Pakistan and India this year
Sattam Alharbi, Deputy Minister for Control and Development of Work Environment at human resources and social development, speaking during the UN International Migration Review Forum, which was concluded in New York on Thursday. (SPA)
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Updated 25 May 2022

Saudi Arabia to appoint two labor attachés to Pakistan and India this year

Saudi Arabia to appoint two labor attachés to Pakistan and India this year
  • It intends to facilitate holding job fairs in the countries concerned, which recruitment offices will attend, to simulate the work environment conditions and double-check that labor is qualified and eligible to work in the Kingdom

RIYADH: The Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development is finalizing procedures for appointing two labor attachés to Pakistan and India by the end of 2022, according to Deputy Minister Sattam Alharbi. He said two more labor attachés will be appointed to other countries next year.

HRSD launched the attaché program in the countries that send labor in mid-2019. It has since completed the procedures for appointing labor attachés to the Philippines and Egypt, both sources of foreign workers in Saudi Arabia.

Alharbi said that the program aims to improve coordination with the countries by implementing programs and orientation plans on labor regulations and policies in the Kingdom, launching cultural exchange between the countries, and building active relationships with the concerned authorities in the host country.

It intends to facilitate holding job fairs in the countries concerned, which recruitment offices will attend, to simulate the work environment conditions and double-check that labor is qualified and eligible to work in the Kingdom.

This program attempts to examine the difficulties encountered by expatriate employees in the Kingdom and address them with authorities in the labor countries. 




Sattam Alharbi, Deputy Minister for Control and Development of Work Environment at human resources and social development. (Supplied)

Alharbi led the Kingdom’s delegation to the first forum to review the international migration charter, held at the UN headquarters in New York from May 17 to 20 this year, and was a keynote speaker at a talk organized by the Philippines on the sidelines of the global migration forum at the UN.

Alharbi said that the Kingdom has an appealing business environment, leading the region in pioneering ideas and investments, and seeks to improve its competitiveness and attract foreign talent and investment. However, it “faces transnational international challenges that require a great deal of international cooperation to overcome.”

The International Migration Charter, which was ratified in December 2018, comprises 23 goals for dealing with migration that tackle organizational, economic, developmental, social and humanitarian issues, as well as security and human rights.

Alharbi said that the Kingdom sees the International Migration Charter as part of its efforts in all areas of international cooperation, particularly concerning the migration file and the common international challenges it faces. He highlighted the Kingdom’s outstanding efforts in the legal and institutional environment of the national human rights system in general, labor regulations for expatriates, promoting employment rights, and so on.

The ministry began the electronic labor contract authentication program in October 2020. More than five million contracts have been logged, and a new version of the program was introduced in May via the Qiwa platform.

Since its inception, the program has contributed to the reduction of labor disputes. According to Ministry of Justice officials, the number of labor cases has decreased by more than 50 percent following the implementation of initiatives to improve the contractual relationship, including contract documentation.

Alharbi said that the ministry “makes every effort to defend the rights of workers in the country and has enacted three policies to this end: the National Occupational Health and Safety Policy, the National Policy to Prevent Child Labor and the National Policy to Abolish Forced Labor.”

He said that the National Occupational Health and Safety Policy aims to improve entities’ compliance with the regulations it covers by unifying health and safety legislation.

The policy defines the responsibilities of relevant government agencies, establishing a governance structure, developing mechanisms to monitor compliance with legislation, and creating mechanisms of collaboration between employers and employees. One of the most significant benefits made possible by the policy’s implementation is the establishment of a National Council for Occupational Health and Safety to oversee the policy’s implementation with the necessary government entities.

The policy on banning children’s work was approved by the Council of Ministers in 2021. It provides a package of interventions at various levels in the state sector to establish a national framework that regulates the labor market in relation to child labor.

Alharbi said that after the Kingdom ratified the ILO Convention on the Prevention of Forced Labor it was “currently working on completing the national policy for the abolition of forced labor.” The policy seeks to achieve a number of objectives, including enhancing legislation to prevent forced labor and to monitor cases.

The national strategy on the eradication of forced labor intends to make processes easier for victims of human trafficking. It also seeks to protect victims in accordance with international standards.

The policy seeks to expand cooperation with labor-exporting nations to build a system that does not contribute to employment exploitation or vulnerability and supports the efforts against practices that lead to forced labor, with the goal of introducing such a system by the end of this year.


US officials led by antisemitism envoy briefed on Saudi efforts to promote tolerance

US officials led by antisemitism envoy briefed on Saudi efforts to promote tolerance
Updated 01 July 2022

US officials led by antisemitism envoy briefed on Saudi efforts to promote tolerance

US officials led by antisemitism envoy briefed on Saudi efforts to promote tolerance
  • They were visiting the King Abdulaziz Center for National Dialogue, the leader of which stressed the importance of communication and dialogue in building bridges between cultures

RIYADH: A visiting US delegation led by Ambassador Deborah Lipstadt, Washington’s special envoy for monitoring and combating antisemitism, was briefed this week on the work of Saudi Arabia’s King Abdulaziz Center for National Dialogue.

After being welcomed to the center by its secretary-general, Abdullah Al-Fawzan, and other senior representatives, the delegates were given a brief presentation about its activities designed to promote and encourage greater tolerance among peoples.

They were also briefed on the results of the first study of its kind in the region on tolerance, carried out by the center to the highest scientific standards, which found that Saudi society is tolerant of other cultures and civilizations.

In greeting the visitors on Tuesday, Al-Fawzan stressed the importance of encouraging communication and dialogue between peoples, to help build bridges of understanding among cultures, as part of the efforts being made by the Kingdom, through its Saudi Vision 2030 development plan, to support tolerance and promote peaceful coexistence based on the principles of moderate Islam.

He said that Saudi society accepts and coexists with people from other societies and cultures, as evidenced by the large number of expatriates who live and work in the Kingdom. This shows that the values of tolerance, peaceful coexistence and unity are not new concepts in the country, he added.

Since its inception, the center has placed great importance in promoting the values of citizenship among among all sections of society, making it a mainstay of its work, Al-Fawzan said.

The members of the US delegation were also given a tour of the center’s Interactive Dialogue Exhibition so that they could learn more about the Kingdom’s efforts to support communications between cultures and civilizations. They also heard about local projects developed by the center to help strengthen the nation’s social fabric, and its regional and global initiatives designed to help build and enhance cultural diversity and human commonalities.


Shoura council speaker heads delegation to Non-Aligned Movement Parliamentary Network conference

Shoura council speaker heads delegation to Non-Aligned Movement Parliamentary Network conference
Updated 30 June 2022

Shoura council speaker heads delegation to Non-Aligned Movement Parliamentary Network conference

Shoura council speaker heads delegation to Non-Aligned Movement Parliamentary Network conference

RIYADH: Speaker of the Saudi Shoura Council Sheikh Dr. Abdullah Al-Sheikh is heading the Kingdom’s delegation to the first conference of the Non-Aligned Movement Parliamentary Network, which began on Thursday in Baku, Azerbaijan, with the participation of several parliament speakers from NAM member states.

Al-Sheikh said in a press statement that the council’s participation in the conference is an affirmation of Saudi Arabia’s keenness to achieve security, peace and sustainable development globally.

Speaker of the Saudi Shoura Council Sheikh Dr. Abdullah Al Al-Sheikh is heading the Kingdom’s delegation to the first conference of the Parliamentary Network of Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), which began on Thursday in Baku, Azerbaijan. (Supplied)

The Kingdom’s participation also highlights its constructive partnership with other countries, the solutions it aims to provide to international crises and the humanitarian work it carries out, Al-Sheikh pointed out.

He stressed that international parliamentary conferences are essential in facing global challenges and achieving cooperation across borders.

The NAM Parliamentary Network was established on the sidelines of the 143rd General Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union, held in Madrid. It aims to provide a framework for cooperation between the parliaments of NAM member states, with the participation of several other international organizations.


Local businesses looking forward to lucrative Hajj season post-pandemic

Local businesses looking forward to lucrative Hajj season post-pandemic
Updated 30 June 2022

Local businesses looking forward to lucrative Hajj season post-pandemic

Local businesses looking forward to lucrative Hajj season post-pandemic
  • The pandemic put a halt to the Hajj for two years, leading to huge losses for some families who solely depended on the pilgrimage season to reap its financial rewards

MAKKAH: Residents of Makkah benefit financially during the Hajj as millions of people from all over the world converge on the holy city to perform the annual pilgrimage.  

But the pandemic put a halt to the Hajj for two years, leading to huge losses for some families who solely depended on the pilgrimage season to reap its financial rewards.  

Elaf Al-Mashaer, a local five-star hotel, is all set to welcome over 20,000 pilgrims this year, and the team has prepared the place to be as comfortable as possible to ensure a smooth stay for guests.

“We must know the number of guests who will stay in the hotel and their nationalities so that we can provide them with what they need,” hotel owner Abdulaziz Al-Sharbeeni told Arab News.

The 304-room establishment has several restaurants to cater to guests’ palates. “Each nationality has its own culture or a certain way of eating. We have Indian, Pakistani, East Asian, and Arabic restaurants.”

(Supplied)

It has also made modifications and preparations to make the rooms and suites accessible to people with disabilities.

“Some pilgrims come alone, so we give them a room on request, while others come with their families, so we give them a suite,” Al-Sharbeeni said. “There is a target we must achieve during the Hajj season as a facility, and the most important seasons in the year to achieve these financial goals are the Ramadan and Hajj seasons.”

The Hajj season attracts a large and diverse crowd, and everyone who visits Makkah enjoys shopping for gifts. They also use taxis, hospitals, restaurants, and other services and amenities, providing locals with many economic opportunities.

“I sell gold in the local market, and Hajj season is considered our opportunity to reach the target. So I’m more than happy that Hajj is back because we miss the pilgrims and we love interacting with them and welcoming them,” said Ahmed Al-Suliman.

Al-Suliman said there were more opportunities for work during the Hajj as significant manpower was required to serve, manage, and help with the influx of pilgrims.

“The people of Makkah, in particular, want to take advantage of the Hajj season. Young and old are working this season, and even if someone sells a bottle of water for SR1 ($0.27), he will earn a lot of money. You can apply for seasonal field jobs through the website of the Ministry of Hajj and the official platforms.”


Program launched to measure pilgrims’ satisfaction during Hajj

Program launched to measure pilgrims’ satisfaction during Hajj
Updated 30 June 2022

Program launched to measure pilgrims’ satisfaction during Hajj

Program launched to measure pilgrims’ satisfaction during Hajj
  • Guests will be assigned incognito to help evaluate Hajj services according to a pre-studied scientific methodology

JEDDAH: The Saudi Ministry of Hajj and Umrah has launched a performance initiative aimed at measuring pilgrims’ satisfaction at service provision during this year’s Hajj season.

Assistant deputy minister of Hajj and Umrah, Hesham Saeed, signed a joint cooperation agreement with acting secretary-general of the coordination council, Dr. Abdullah Al-Muwaihi, in relation to the program.

Al-Muwaihi said the monitoring scheme would involve measuring quality-of-service performance and beneficiary satisfaction, while also including an incognito guest program, all designed to improve and enrich worshippers’ spiritual experience.

Under the incognito initiative, Saeed said a designated guest would, “serve as a pilgrim under mission, who lives the full experience of Hajj, starting from the country of the pilgrim, passing through the holy sites, and performing the rituals until they return to their country.

“The assigned incognito guest will be living all the details, seeing what contact points they pass through, and will give an evaluation according to a pre-studied scientific methodology regarding the measurement criteria,” he added.

 

 

 


A million Muslims from around the world to perform Hajj in 2022

A million Muslims from around the world to perform Hajj in 2022
Updated 30 June 2022

A million Muslims from around the world to perform Hajj in 2022

A million Muslims from around the world to perform Hajj in 2022
  • Pilgrims from outside the Kingdom must submit a negative PCR test result within 72 hours of their departure

JEDDAH: A million Muslims from around the world will perform the Hajj this year, in line with the quotas allocated to each country and following recommendations from the Saudi Ministry of Health.

The Hajj was limited to 60,000 vaccinated citizens and residents from the Kingdom in 2021 to contain the spread of COVID-19 and ensure the safety of pilgrims and others.

But, following Saudi Arabia's successful implementation of precautionary measures for Hajj and Umrah seasons during the pandemic, pilgrim capacity has been raised to 1 million.

This year's Hajj is for people aged 65 and under who must comply with the requirement to complete a COVID-19 vaccination program.

The Ministry of Hajj and Umrah tweeted that pilgrims from outside the Kingdom must submit a negative PCR test result within 72 hours of their departure for Saudi Arabia.

It said the shots required for pilgrims in Saudi Arabia included one for meningitis for people who had not been vaccinated in the past five years. They are also required to get the flu vaccine. Local pilgrims must take these vaccinations at least 10 days before going to the Hajj.

Figures from the General Authority of Statistics showed that, during the pandemic's peak in 2020, the number of pilgrims plummeted to just 1,000. The decision to restrict capacity was based on risk assessment and public health and safety concerns.  

There were almost 2.5 million pilgrims at the Hajj in 2019, and 1.9 million were from overseas.

The highest number of local and foreign Hajj pilgrims in the past decade was in 2012 when nearly 3.2 million people performed the annual pilgrimage. The lowest was 1.9 million in 2016.