An investigation into the qualifications of engineers working in Saudi Arabia has uncovered thousands hold fake degrees.
The news has been revealed by the Saudi Council of Engineers (SCE) which says 15,000 workers with false documents are working in the construction industry.
Now fears are growing that many of the schools and public buildings built in recent years are to a sub-standard.
There’s also a growing online backlash with many Saudis saying that this is a major scandal for the country and that those with fake degrees should be named and shamed.
The SCE says there are more than 850 fake degrees being held by expat workers in the public sector.
To make matters worse, the Saudi Commission for Health Specialities has also revealed that an inspection it carried out found that more than 1,000 private health sector workers had fake degrees.
There were nearly 500 more for workers in the public sector.
Now many in Saudi Arabia are worried about how many of their doctors are actually unqualified.
Media outlets in Saudi Arabia are now calling for action and they want reassurances about what happens should a building built by an engineer with a fake degree collapses.
The issue of buying fake degrees online has been a concern for many authorities over the years and still easy to buy them and other fake qualifications online.
Among those being offered are high school diplomas, identity documents and professional qualifications.
Those offering fake degrees say that their qualifications are officially verifiable and that their education courses are accredited by leading universities.
However most, if not all, of these claims are untrue.
The SCE says it is now working with the country’s Interior Ministry to help streamline the accreditation process which will unearth those with the fake degrees before they take up employment.
They point out to that when they discover an expat with a fake degree they immediately inform the authorities as well as the employer.
In a bid to curtail demand and expose those holding fake degrees, there is to be a new law brought in backed up by the establishment of a new national documentation checking centre.
The idea has been a rubber stamped by the country’s Shoura Council and will lead to the banning of agencies selling the documents.
Saudi Arabia also says the government will target universities who are offering any type of cooperation with the agencies and step-up its actions to stamp out the country’s own fake degree mills after one expat forger was arrested recently having sold more than 700 fake degrees.