KUWAIT CITY, Oct 15: The Kuwait Society of Engineers (KSE) has come to terms with a Swedish company according to which the company will check on the accreditation of expatriate engineers working in Kuwait’s labor market, reports Al-Rai daily.
“The company has long been working in the Gulf labor market and is responsible for the accreditation of engineers’ certificates in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the UAE,” said Faisal Al-Atel, Chairman of KSE.
The engineers will submit all their certificates to the company and will give the mandate to the company to make necessary inquiries.
Accordingly, in this regard the company will contact the concerned university to check on the authenticity of the documents, as a first step, and the second step will include the process of checking the seals and data, the classification of the university certificate and determining whether the university has international accreditation or not.
He added that the company after the confirmation of the engineer’s certificate and validity, there is an additional step which is providing KSE with the criminal, security and behavior record of each person who is applying for the accreditation of university degree, which is a very important addition to our accreditation to employees in Kuwait.
The fees are collected by the company directly from the engineer requesting for accreditation. In a related context, the Times of India responded to what was published in Al Rai daily last week about 1,400 engineers in Kuwait holding unrecognized certificates and conducted an investigation that confirms that about 80 percent of these certificates come from India.
The Times of India said: “This week’s announcement by the Kuwait Society of Engineers (KSE), which said it had discovered ‘1,400 fake or uncertified engineers’ in the West Asian country, has caught thousands of Indian engineers with genuine certificates in a cleft stick.” By order of Kuwait’s Public Authority for Manpower, it has since March 11 been mandatory for all expatriate engineers to receive a no-objection certificate (NOC) from the KSE to live and work in the country.
More than 15,000 Indian engineers who work in Kuwait now face scrutiny from the KSE, a public benefit association that has since stipulated that it would grant NOCs only to engineers from colleges approved by National Board of Accreditation (NBA).
The provision has affected around 90 percent of Indian engineers because few technical education institutions in India have NBA accreditation. Most are from (All India Council for Technical Education) AICTE-approved colleges.
Sources said the “KSE has a list of colleges. If the applicant is from one of those institutions, it certifies that he has a genuine degree,” said a mechanical engineer from Mangaluru who has worked in Kuwait for the past 15 years. “If not, even if the applicant is an engineer from an AICTE-approved college, KSE declares the degree uncertified or fake.”
The engineer, who spoke on condition of anonymity, noted that KSE appeared to have come up with its list of 1,400 uncertified or fake engineers through a hasty verification process, after learning that several engineers employed in government and private projects had phony degrees. “We abide by the laws of the land,” he said.
“People with fake engineering degrees should not receive residence and work permits. However, KSE shouldn’t punish engineers with genuine AICTE-approved degrees. The Indian government should intervene and work out a solution with the Kuwaiti authorities regarding AICTE-approved degrees,” he added.
Another engineer, who has worked in the country for two decades, said the Indian Embassy in Kuwait has been unable to help those who do not meet the KSE stipulation. “Some Indian engineers have already left Kuwait, others are in the process of leaving the country,” he said.
Some engineers with degrees not approved by NBA have had their designations lowered to the level of ‘supervisor’, the engineer said.
Their work permits are also changed accordingly, and they have to accept a cut in salary. It’s not easy even for engineers with NBA-approved degrees. Those with less than five years of experience have to appear for an examination and interview to obtain a NOC. Others with more experience only have to attend the interview.
“The examination is hard to crack because it includes basic questions that engineers are unlikely to remember a few years after they graduate,” an engineer from Kerala said. “Only a third of all engineers pass the exam. The authorities renew work permits only after candidates pass the exam and interview. They put visaholders who fail in a second attempt in the supervisor category. Visa-holders have no choice: They either toe the line or leave the country”.