The Labor Ministry yesterday unveiled plans to conduct a study to streamline recruitment of foreign work force from India, Pakistan, Indonesia, the Philippines, Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. The study was announced by Labor Minister Adel Fakeih on the sidelines of the 101st meeting of the International Labor Organization (ILO), currently in session in Geneva. The study is aimed at ensuring the quality of recruited foreign work force, a matter that will improve productivity on the one hand and minimize work problems arising between workers and their employers on the other, the minister said. The new move will ensure compliance of workers’ skills with the contracted jobs and lay down appropriate measures and regulations to protect the rights of the workers as well as employers. Fakeih expressed his hope that the Kingdom would become one of the best countries to attract qualified work force that would positively contribute to the development of the national economy and be fully aware of labor systems prevailing in the Kingdom. A series of workshops will be organized with departments concerned related to the recruitment of manpower from abroad. The ministry earlier announced its plan to conduct skills tests for foreign workers to make sure they are qualified to do various jobs. The issuance of work permits to foreigners will depend on their performance in the professional skills tests. The workers need not submit any academic or technical certificates showing their qualifications and experience prior to sitting the test. A consortium led by AwalNet, a leading Internet service provider in the Kingdom, has won a SR 6 billion contract to undertake the skills testing of millions of foreigners in the Kingdom. Fakeih said on the first day of the meeting that GCC labor ministers are making headway in boosting decent work standards and enhancing human dignity. In their drive to develop the labor market, the GCC countries have taken major steps at regulatory levels. They have also adopted a series of initiatives to develop labor markets, protect workers’ rights and promote decent work, the minister said. He enumerated a number of examples in this context and said the United Arab Emirates would soon launch an e-initiative aimed at cooperation with India to give Indian workers access to the terms and conditions of their contracts prior to departure from India. The UAE has succeeded in providing good living conditions for their citizens. According to a UN survey, the UAE ranked first among Arab countries and 17th in the world in work satisfaction and pleasure, he said. Fakeih said the Kingdom has launched a package of initiatives and programs aimed at providing more job opportunities to Saudi citizens. He mentioned the Nitaqat program that encourages firms to increase nationalization. The program empowering Saudi women to take part in the production process and similar programs aimed at supporting small and medium enterprises (SMEs) were also stressed.