Finding an internship in Saudi Arabia

young trainees
Updated 2022-02-24 06:23

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 but also will help you acquire professional experience from a wealthy and prosperous country.

In terms of public freedoms and entertainment, the ongoing reforms in the country are creating an appealing atmosphere for young people from all around the world. 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.

How to find an internship in Saudi Arabia?

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 the unemployment rate in the country is still quite high. Hence, a recent phenomenon called 'Saudisation'. You are thus advised to start your search by identifying major Saudi companies operating across the country.

However, you may find that many of these companies are keeping their internship positions exclusively for the Saudis, so the locals can obtain much-needed expertise for future hiring. The same applies to governmental institutions recruiting interns from local universities.

This does not mean that a foreigner's chances to find an internship are rather low. If you are determined and qualified enough, the Kingdom has a strong presence of international entities. Giants like Twitter, Microsoft, KPMG and many more, have their branches here, as well as the major Gulf players in construction, hospitality, etc. A Gulf experience in your portfolio would be considered a significant advantage. The same relates to the knowledge of the Arabic language. Some of the desired internships are in national companies like Saudi Aramco, which is the most profitable entity in the world, or Almarai, the world's biggest dairy company.

Also, pay attention to the booming projects in the framework of Vision 2030 while looking for an internship. You may view internship offers on the Internet thanks to various specialised job websites and other professional social networks like LinkedIn and Viadeo. You may as well register with a recruitment agency.

Promising fields for interns in Saudi Arabia

Foreigners are more likely to find an internship in Saudi Arabia in the following fields:

  • healthcare
  • education
  • finance
  • manufacturing
  • information and communication technology
  • entertainment

Those specialising in science may also find internships at the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, which is fully funded.

Internship visa in Saudi Arabia

You will have to obtain a work visa or a resident permit (Iqama) to be authorised to perform an internship in Saudi Arabia. Application has to be made at the Saudi embassy or consulate in your home country. Documents to be produced are:

  • 4 original colour identity photos
  • a duly signed employment contract
  • your complete medical examinations records
  • your original criminal record
  • (certified copies of your last diplomas or certificates (stamped by your nearest municipality) regarding the position 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. Alternatively, you can apply for a multiple-entry business visa which has a 180 days validity.

Once you have filled in all related formalities, make sure to inquire about the local labour market and working conditions to avoid any unpleasant surprise. In general, these should be quite different from what you are accustomed to in your home country, especially in terms of culture and etiquette.

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