A career fair organized by the University of Business and Technology (UBT) ended at Jeddah Hilton Hotel attracting many non-Saudis even though it was mainly meant for Saudi job seekers.
Ibrahim Nashar, a representative of employee affairs at a company that participated in the fair, said he received around 600 CVs from non-Saudi applicants.
“They all said they are willing to start work within two days. I was surprised to see so many non-Saudis at the job fair, which was actually meant for Saudi job seekers. I had to ask the representative of the Labor Office at the fair why a great number of applicants were non-Saudis,” said Nashar.
He said the Labor Office representative confirmed to him that the fair was only for Saudis.
“The representative told me that non-Saudis were not supposed to be allowed in the fair. Their applications should not be accepted,” said Nashar.
Nivine Samman, a representative of another company participating in the fair, said she received around 400 applicants from non-Saudis during the fair.
“We don’t know how they got in and who let them in,” said Samman.
Khalid Al-Safari, a job seeker, said he was shocked to find non-Saudis at the fair.
“Why no one has stopped non-Saudis from entering the venue? They stood with us in line to apply for jobs,” said Al-Safari.
Rawan Al-Ghamdi, a job seeker with a bachelor’s degree in informational technology, said companies participating in job fairs are not serious about hiring Saudis.
“I have been visiting several job fairs for months and I haven’t seen companies that were proactive in hiring Saudis. I just want my basic right to find a job without having to compete against non-Saudis for the position,” said Al-Ghamdi.
University of Business and Technology Career Center Director
Luay Al-Tayyar, director of UBT’s career guidance center, said registration for the fair was distributed on social media that gave the false impression to a lot of non-Saudis that they too can apply”.
He added when a great number of non-Saudis showed up for the fair, the organizers were in a predicament. But they managed to contain the situation later on.
“There were 40 companies at the fair offering some 3,000 employment and training opportunities. The companies were asked to look into the CVs of Saudis alone. The CVs of non-Saudis will be discarded.” said Al-Tayyar.
The Kingdom has been steadily closing off different areas of employment to foreigners, who comprise about a third of the population, as it aims to create jobs for young Saudis and cut unemployment rates.
Under the economic reform plan released last year, Saudi Arabia wants unemployment among its citizens to fall to 9 percent by 2020, against 11.6 percent last year. (Source credit – Saudi Gazette)