A Welcome Move For Indian Expats in Saudi
On Tuesday, Saudi Arabia’s Cabinet approved the new residence scheme “Privileged Iqama” that allows expats to live and work in Saudi without a Saudi national as a sponsor. The new “Privileged Iqama” ensures eligible residents a set of advantages including rights to recruit workers, own property and means of transportation as well as leaving and returning to the kingdom without the need for permission from a sponsor as is the case at present.
A special committee has been given 90 days to determine regulations governing the mechanisms of the scheme. The iqama was first proposed in 2016 by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and was approved by the Cabinet last week. It will for the first time allow foreign nationals to work and live in Saudi Arabia without a sponsor.
The scheme will enable expatriates to permanently reside, own property and invest in the Kingdom for residential, commercial and industrial purposes except the holy cities of Makkah, Madinah and border areas. The new visa will also enable bearers to travel out of the Kingdom and come back without hassle and will also be entitled to use the processing service designated for Saudis at the airport.
An authorized draft of the new Privileged Iqama system offers a number of benefits to highly skilled expatriates and owners of capital funds that will not require a Saudi sponsor. The Green card holder will also have a family status and can own means of transportation, work in any private establishment and freely switch jobs. Also, the bearers will be able to take up any job in the private sector except those reserved for Saudi citizens.
Eligible residents should have a valid passport, adequate financial resources and not be less than 21 years in age. Moreover, applicants must have no criminal records and obtain medical reports proving they suffer no contagious diseases.
A special committee has been given 90 days to determine regulations governing the mechanisms of the scheme, such as fees for applicants, which have not been yet determined by the authorities.
The Green Card scheme was welcomed by Indian expats in Saudi. The new scheme will create more job opportunities and investments in Saudi.