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SAUDI ARABIA Saudi: fake degrees used by 20 engineers

Relentless efforts to tackle sham qualifications amid rising concerns

By Habib Toumi Bureau Chief
July 30, 2013

Manama: Indians, Filipinos and Egyptians were among 20 engineers with fake degrees discovered in Saudi Arabia in the last 20 days.

“We have found out that five Indians, four Filipinos, three Egyptians, two Pakistanis, one Lebanese and one Jordanian had bogus degrees in engineering,” Hamad Al Shaqawi, the chairman of the Saudi Council of Engineers, said. “The other three had degrees from fake universities that were not of course accredited. There were Filipinos who forged the major on their degrees to be able to obtain visas into Saudi Arabia based on a specific expertise,” he said in remarks published by local daily Al Madina on Tuesday.

The Jordanian fake engineer was in charge of securing medical equipment for hospitals in the kingdom while another bogus degree allowed an expatriate to train engineers in the health ministry, he added.

“Two fake degrees from bogus universities have helped two engineers to hold leading positions in communication companies,” Al Shaqawi said.

Saudi Arabia has launched a relentless battle against bogus degrees amid reports that thousands of expatriates, lured by lucrative financial gains, have forged their ways into the labour market in both the private and public sectors.

Investigations into sham degrees have led to the deportation of thousands of foreigners, but concerns about unqualified professionals faking their way into vital sectors have been a source of major concern.

A recently arrested expatriate admitted he had run a fake degree mill and that he had sold over 700 bogus degrees.

Saudi Arabia is home to around nine million foreigners who make up one third of its total population.

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