Saudi cabinet approves new expatriate residency scheme

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Time: May 15, 2019  

Saudi Arabia’s cabinet approved a “green card”-style residency scheme on Tuesday, which allows expatriates to get permanent residency in Kingdom for the first time. (Shutterstock/File Photo)
  • Privileged Iqama system offers benefits to highly skilled expatriates and owners of capital funds
  • Different from existing iqama system, because residents would not require Saudi sponsor

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s cabinet approved the “Privileged Iqama” residency scheme on Tuesday, which allows expatriates to live and work in the Kingdom without the need of a local sponsor (Kafeel) for the first time.

Plans for the scheme were discussed and rubber-stamped earlier this month by the Shoura Council.

The new Privileged Iqama system offers benefits to highly skilled expatriates and owners of capital funds.

It is different from the existing iqama system, because residents would not require a Saudi sponsor or employe.

The new residency scheme — commonly referred to as the Saudi “green card” — was first mentioned by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman nearly three years ago as part of the ambitious Vision 2030 plan to open up the kingdom and diversify its economy.

This article was first published in Arab News

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