Saudi Arabia begins accepting applications for special residency permits

Saudi Arabia opened on Sunday the online portal that will allow expats to apply for the Kingdom’s new special residency scheme – similar to the Green Card system in the US – aimed at attracting high-skilled expats.

Announced last month, the new “Privileged Iqama” (residency permit) law will see foreigners benefit from the new residency scheme. The beneficiaries will not require a Saudi sponsor or employer.

According to the law, the residency permits will be offered to highly skilled expatriates who will benefit from the ability to recruit workers, own property, and transport.

The residency scheme offers two types of permits, a permanent one for $213,321.96 (800,000 SAR) and a renewable annual residency permit for $26,665.24 (100,000 SAR).

Currently, over 10 million expats work and live in Saudi Arabia under a system that requires them to be sponsored by a Saudi employer and be issued an exit and re-entry visa whenever they want to travel outside the Kingdom.

The new law was approved by 76 members of the Shoura Council, while 55 opposed.

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