The 16-year-long career of Laxman (name changed), a native of Tamil Nadu, working as a safety engineer in Kuwait came to an end as he failed to obtain a no-objection certificate from the Kuwait society of engineers (KSE), which is mandatory for an expat to work as an engineer in the country. The reason: his engineering college has not been accredited by the National board of Accreditation (NBA) in India.
In addition to Laxman, many Indian engineers working in Kuwait have started losing their jobs in the Gulf country. This is because they failed to produce an NBA certificate to KSE to renew their resident permit.
KSE and the Public authority of manpower (PAM) in Kuwait have come up with a rule that NOCs are issued to expat engineers only if their college and courses are NBA accredited. Though NBA was implemented in India two decades ago, not many colleges/courses in India are accredited by the NBA to date. All colleges are approved by AICTE.
Kuwait has close to 12,000 registered engineers from India, and some of them are in key positions. The highest number of engineers in Kuwait are Indian expats.
"I graduated in 1995, and NBA accreditation started in India after many years. In such a scenario, how can I provide an NBA-approved course certificate? However, I earned my master's degree from an NBA-accredited institution, which is not taken into account. Since I failed to obtain a NOC, which is mandatory, I lost my job in Kuwait and was jobless for four months. However, I was fortunate that my company signed a project in Saudi Arabia. I was asked to relocate there by the end of December," Laxman explained his ordeal.
Not every engineering expat from India is as lucky as Laxman. Another expat from Tamil Nadu, who landed in Kuwait in 2018 and worked as a safety engineer, is counting his days in Kuwait. "I received NOCs between 2018 and 2021, but I was denied in 2022," he explained.
Other expats who previously worked as engineers have been demoted to lower posts since they did not furnish NOCs.
The Indian engineers' forum (IEF) and other engineers' forums in Kuwait have discussed the issue with the Kuwaiti and Indian governments. "Of the 12,000 engineers registered at the Embassy of India, Kuwait, it is learnt that 1,200 engineers have lost their jobs in the last two months," said another engineering forum member.
Many more may lose jobs, says IEF, Kuwait
Indian Engineers Forum, Kuwait said if KSE sticks to the updated rule, it will affect almost all engineers. All engineers' forums in Kuwait have contacted the Government of India through the embassy in Kuwait. NBA began independent operations in 2012, according to the Indian government.