Saudi cabinet approves special residency scheme for foreign expats

Published: May 15, 2019 10:23:21 | Updated: May 16, 2019 12:11:18

High-rise buildings are seen in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on December 18, 2017 — Reuters/Files

Saudi Arabia's cabinet on Tuesday approved a special residency scheme similar to green card systems applicable in other countries, aimed at attracting wealthy and high-skilled expats, the Saudi Press agency reported.

SPA’s statement did not give further details on the new scheme, which was approved by the advisory Shura council earlier this month.

Local media said the plan would allow wealthy and high- skilled foreign expats to choose between defined and renewable residency or permanent stay in return for a high, one-off fee. It would also allow them free movement, ability to own properties, and to do business in the kingdom.

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

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