Saudi Arabia: A green-card for expats

Published 2019-05-20 15:08

$200,000. This is what it will cost you to move to Saudi Arabia without a sponsor. Indeed, the Cabinet of Ministers has approved this measure last Tuesday 14th of May 2019. This measure should help attract wealthy and high-skilled expats according to the Saudi Gazette.

The aim of this measure is to attract high-skilled and wealthy expats to become entrepreneurs and investors in key sectors of Saudi Arabia. Indeed, it will now be possible for expats to immigrate to Saudi Arabia without being sponsored by an employer or an agency, which was compulsory before to get an Iqama. This comes as a massive push to encourage foreign investment in Saudi Arabia. Indeed, there were fears that because of an uncertain future, foreign workers were being reluctant to invest in Saudi Arabia and would rather invest in their home countries.

This new special residency scheme was approved by Saudi Arabia’s Shura Council earlier in May of this year and later, the Cabinet of Ministers approved the measure too. To be eligible, expats will be required to hold a valid passport, a clear criminal as well as a medical report. Furthermore, this residency scheme will cost $200,000 to an expatriate who will also have to show proof that they are able to support themselves financially.

Other than these basic eligibility requirements, candidates chosen for the special residency scheme will bear exceptional skills that the labor market in Saudi Arabia is short of, or should be at the head of a company which would be willing to invest in the country.

With the current permit, expats will be able to live with their families in Saudi Arabia. They will also be able to work, buy property, hire workers and invest in the country.