Saudi Arabia offers ‘green card’ residency to foreign skilled professionals, investors

Published: May 9, 2019


PHOTO: REUTERS Kingdom abolishes decades-old kafeel (sponsor) system under which residents would not require a sponsor or employer. PHOTO COURTESY: ARAB NEWS

In an attempt to attract foreign skilled professionals and investors, Saudi Arab has abolished decades-old Kafala system under which a migrant worker’s immigration status is legally bound to an individual employer or sponsor (kafeel) during the contract period.

The kingdom’s Shoura Council on Wednesday approved a “green card”-style residency scheme, reported Arab News.

The authorised draft of the new Privileged Iqama system will offer a raft of benefits to highly skilled expatriates and owners of capital funds. Unlike the existing iqama system, such residents would not require a Saudi sponsor or employer.

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The benefits on offer include the ability to recruit of workers; ownership of property and transport; employment in the private sector, commerce and industry; freedom of movement and exit from the kingdom and return; and the use of designated queues at airports.

Under the system, which requires a guarantee of specific fees, there are two categories: An extended iqama and a temporary one.

Eligible expatriates must have a valid passport with a credit report, a health report and no criminal record.

The story originally appeared in Arab News

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Reader Comments (4)

  • Humza
    May 11, 2019 - 6:48PM

    Don’t know who wants to live in Saudi Arabia under this or any other scheme. Most people just want to go and work and eventually leave but I have yet to meet anyone who would want to settle in that type of society.Recommend

  • Sajid Nawaz Raja.
    May 13, 2019 - 4:45PM

    Excellent And Remarkable ‘Immigration Initiative’ By The Kingdom Of Saudi Arabia, For The Skilled And Eligible Persons. Masha Allah ! Good To Know And Thank You To Share.Recommend

  • Awalmir
    May 14, 2019 - 6:39AM

    Great hope for all Pakistanis because skills and certificates can be bought here.Recommend

  • Akbar
    May 16, 2019 - 1:46PM

    @Humza, there are a lot many. Try interacting to expats while you next go for Umra, most Pakistanis/desis pray that they stay there for ever, due to a combination of better economic conditions and the holy places thereRecommend

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