For companies expanding their operations to Saudi Arabia, it can be a complex and lengthy process. The government has encouraged foreign investment and made reforms to make the process easier for companies, however, challenges still exist.
Corporate immigration is a process that requires a lot of time and resources and it is essential that companies perform their due diligence to ensure they are compliant throughout the process. Below we break down corporate immigration into the Kingdom and what you need to know.
The Saudi government have shown a pro foreign investment attitude, by making the necessary reforms to encourage foreign investors to enter the Kingdom. These reforms, aligned with Vision 2030, aim to improve the environment for foreign investment and lower the barriers to entry.
The government have created laws and regulations that create a risk-avert environment for companies to thrive in. We have seen the introduction of the bankruptcy law for companies, therefore ensuring them some security when entering the Kingdom and the privatization plan. This plan aims for private sector companies to take ownership of state-owned companies.
They continue to improve the environment for foreign investors by simplifying processes, such as the investment license that can be granted online in as little as 4 hours which was previously a manual process.
What are the main work and business permits used to transfer employees?
For employees who are going to work in the Kingdom on a long term basis, they will require a work permit and iqama. Initially, they will be granted a work entry permit, this is valid for 90 days and is required to complete in-country requirements prior to receiving the final work permit and iqama. Under the work entry permit, users are not able to work or leave the country. Once the final work permit and iqama are granted, the employee will be eligible to work, rent a property, open a bank account and buy a car.
How long does it typically take to process the visas?
Processing times for visas vary, depending on the industry of work permit, the country of application, the nationality of the applicant and whether there are dependents.
For companies applying from a block visa, this can take two to six weeks before it is processed depending on the size of the request, the type of visa and the Saudization rating of the company.
Once the individual has entered the country under a work visa, it may take two to three weeks to obtain a work permit and iqama. Assuming all relevant documentation is current and has gone through the required processes such as notarisation or attestation. However, if your profession requires extra accreditation, such as engineers or accountants, then it may take an additional two to three weeks.
Can an assignee enter the Kingdom on a commercial/tourist visa?
Holders of commercial and tourist visas are strictly prohibited from doing work in the Kingdom. Therefore, you must ensure the visa you receive is aligned with your purpose of travel to stay compliant.
Founded by Saudi Nationals Zaid Al Mashari and Naif Al Otaibi in 2009, PROVEN SA delivers business solutions to companies currently operating in or looking to branch out into KSA. PROVEN SA is a specialist in corporate immigration, employee outsourcing and recruitment, Providing international companies with advanced regional insight and the necessary tools to successfully do business within the Kingdoms burgeoning markets. Due to an increase in international interest, PROVEN SA expanded out of Saudi in 2016, and now holds offices in Riyadh, Dubai, Dallas and London.
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