Thousands of expat engineers in Saudi Arabia have fake degrees

Published:  9 Apr at 6 PM
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Tagged: Visas, USA, Australia, Jobs
A recent investigation into degrees held by expat engineers working in Saudi Arabia has revealed that thousands of degree certificates used to get jobs and visas were faked.

The Saudi Council of Engineers states that at least 15,000 foreign engineers working in the country’s construction industry are holding false documents. The news has led to widespread concern about the safety of many of the kingdom’s newer high-rise buildings and schools.

Anger is growing amongst Saudi nationals, many of whom are calling for those with fake degrees to be named, shamed and immediately deported. The same organisation has also revealed that at least 850 expats working in other public sector jobs are also in possession of sham qualifications, with another 1,000 in the public health sector.

Concerns over unqualified doctors and nurses working in Saudi’s hospitals are rising, with local media calling for reassurance and action against the offenders. The issue of fake degrees has been a cause for concern over the years, as the purchase of fake degrees and other official documents online is known to be easy and inexpensive.

The SCE is now working with the Interior Ministry on a streamlined accreditation process to identify the cheats before they take up employment in the kingdom. Once discovered, the identity of the expat worker will be given to the prospective employer and the job offer will be withdrawn.

Those selling the documents locally will be identified and shut down, and universities cooperating with these agencies will be targeted. One of Saudi Arabia’s most active fake degree mills was recently identified and closed down after an expat forger was arrested for selling over 700 of the fake degrees.
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Comments » There are 2 comments

Nick K wrote 9 years ago:

I lived and worked in Saudi. My employer knew that I had no degree, so my Iqama had me down as a low-level admin staff. In reality I was Head of Training for a large organiation... much easier than academic fraud. You'd have to be nuts to work in Saudi with fake qualifications but I'd be willing to bet that most of those "expats" are in fact from other Arab nations rather than the West.

Rob wrote 8 years ago:

I worked for 13 months in Saudi Arabia in a chemical plants with Saudi Nationals that had graduated from the local Process Technology school. The employees that I trained, said the school basically taught English. And half of them still did not speak English very well, and knew nothing of Process Technology. Some were very eager to learn while others were content to hide out in the air conditioned offices and let me do the work. Saudi Arabia is a young country, and is trying to get its people off their butts and get them to work. But they have a lot of culture, history, and religious obstacles that prevent them from making dramatic changes. It will take time. Most of the people are really nice.

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