Saudi Arabia
Updated 7 months ago

Find in this article all you should know about the Saudi labour market if you intend to work there.

Finding a job in Saudi Arabia is mostly done prior to entering the country. Being employed in the Kingdom is the main reason people are issued visas to live in Saudi Arabia. Unlike other countries, Saudi Arabia is a closed country meaning you can only get to enter the country via formal visa approval. Employment visas are the most issued type of visa in Saudi Arabia.

 Good to know:

In 2018, Saudi Arabia started issuing Tourist visas.

Once you’ve found a job, completed the interview process, and been offered a contract, you will be issued a visa. Once you’ve agreed to relocate to Saudi Arabia with the sponsor of your prospective job, settling in is the next step. Most contracts accommodate families but ensure that dependants will be issued visas in the contract.

Labour market

Saudi Arabia is a lucrative place to for expatriates to find work. With a labour force that is heavily dependent on the foreign workforce, expats are in constant demand. Saudi Arabia is famously known for jobs in the oil industry, which is a big employer. However, with a growing population, massive development, and Saudi Arabia’s economy moving towards other profitable industries, the opportunity for new business and jobs are growing.

Keep in mind that Saudi Arabian nationals are currently facing rising unemployment in the region. To face those difficulties, the Government has introduced “Saudization Program” for the last couple of years.

Find a job in Saudi Arabia

Online searches, job site pages, and career fairs are ways to inquire about possible job opportunities in Saudi Arabia. The bigger companies will list vacant positions on their official website and you can apply directly. Whichever way you go about finding a job in Saudi Arabia, keep in mind that all relevant details and negotiation will take place with your prospective employer before you even enter Saudi Arabia.

If you decide to leave Saudi Arabia and come back at another time with another employer, make sure you leave on good terms. Saudi Arabia “sponsors” employers and can deter your chances of getting another job by blacklisting you with the Ministry of Labour.

 Good to know:

Saudi Arabia does not recognize College Diplomas as sufficient post-secondary education. They emphasize the need for University Degrees and higher.

Benefits of working in Saudi Arabia

Each job comes with a set of benefits, but the common inclusions are:

  • At least 1 round-trip airfare to your home country (dependents included)
  • Accommodation provided and/or housing allowance
  • Good coverage for medical insurance (dependents included)
  • Annual salary bonus and/or Completion of Service bonus

Remember, however, to check all these conditions carefully before signing your employment contract.

Employment contract

Recently it has been decided that foreign expats will be issued a contract lasting a maximum of 1 year. The option to renew and/or extend will be outlined in your contract. Employers usually insist on 2-year contracts, however, the Ministry of Labour has voided any legally binding contracts of more than a year.

The basis of all contracts will include the following:

  • Details about your job (title and description)
  • Official working hours, Holiday Working Hours, Official Holidays, Leave Days, Sick Days, etc.
  • Persons responsible for fees associated with exit/re-entry visas, with the exception of one given annually
  • The sponsor or company's details
  • Your basic salary as well as details regarding possible overtime, bonus, trial period, etc.
  • The terms and conditions in case of resignation or dismissal during the trial period
  • The contract duration and possibility of renewal
  • Rent (either in full or partially) if these are supported by the employer (including relocation costs)
  • Details regarding your expat health insurance (whether or not it is supported by your employer) as the local health system does not provide health costs for foreigners. Note that this insurance must cover your family members and dependents if they are accompanying you
  • Conditions related to the annual airline ticket to visit your home country along with your family members
  • Details regarding paid leave
  • Any final charges on your return to your home country once the mission is completed (in case the contract is not renewed)
  • Details of children and school fees, including the school's name
  • Authorization (if any) to take your pet with you, along with costs incurred
  • Conditions and details of maternity or paternity leave
  • The terms and conditions regarding resignation, dismissal, or termination of contract (including repatriation costs)
  • End of mission bonus which is generally equal to half a month's salary if you have worked for 1 to 5 years for the company, and equal to 1 month's salary for each additional year beyond 5 years of service.

  Good to know:

In case you are fired, your work and residency visa (Iqama) will be cancelled automatically. Thus, you will be repatriated to your home country.

Finally, if you wish to leave your job for another, you should seek a written authorization from your sponsor. Please note that the latter may keep your travel documents in his possession.

We do our best to provide accurate and up to date information. However, if you have noticed any inaccuracies in this article, please let us know in the comments section below.