Do you dream of performing an internship in Saudi Arabia? Here is some information on procedures to follow and promising sectors.
Performing an internship in Saudi Arabia can be an interesting and enriching experience for young professionals. It will not only give you exposure to a different lifestyle in a strict and regulated environment but also help you acquire professional experience from an economically rich and prosperous country. However, foreigners wishing to move to Saudi Arabia in this context are advised to inquire beforehand on related formalities, as well as on the local market. Some sectors are quite open to foreigners while others are not at all.
Indeed, finding an internship in Saudi Arabia can be quite complicated. This is mainly due to the fact that these companies are more likely to recruit local professionals as unemployment rate in the country is still quite high. Hence, a recent phenomenon called “Saudization” of companies, that is nationalization. You are thus advised to start your search by identifying major Saudi companies operating across the country.
You can send spontaneous internship applications to companies such as Saudi Aramco, STC (Saudi Telecom Company), Saudi Electricity Company and SABIC, etc. You can also consider foreign companies such as Accor, Areva, Alcatel, Aventis pastor, Axa, BAE Systems, Michelin, Cisco Systems, Siemens, Danone, Procter & Gamble, Intel, JAL, Schlumberger, Nestlé, and Bouygues, among many others.
Otherwise, you may view internship offers on the Internet thanks to various specialized job websites and other professional social networks such as LinkedIn and Viadeo. You may as well register with a recruitment agency.
Foreigners are more likely to find internship in the following fields:
- health care
- information and communication technology.
Those specializing in science may also find internship at the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology which has set up the Visiting Student Research Internship (VSRI) program which is restricted to research trainees.
You will have to obtain a work visa or a resident permit (Iqama) to be authorized to perform an internship in Saudi Arabia. The request has to be made at the Saudi embassy or consulate in your home country. Documents to be produced are:
- 4 original color identity photos
- a duly signed employment contract
- your complete medical examinations records
- your original criminal record (Bulletin No. 3) having been issued not more than 3 months before
- certified copies of your last diplomas or certificates (stamped by your nearest municipality) regarding the post you are going to occupy or any other past experience certificates issued by your past employers (to be signed and stamped by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
- the invitation letter issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (this document is valid for 1 month only).
Alternatively, you can apply for a multiple-entry business visa which has a 3 months validity. However, you will be required to leave the country every 30 days. Moreover, you are not sure to be granted a second visa. Also, beware of local authorities as these are not lenient with illegal workers.
Once you have filled in all related formalities, make sure to inquire on the local labor market and on working conditions so as to avoid any unpleasant surprise. In general, these should be quite different from what you are accustomed to in your home country.