Saudi Approves Special Residency Scheme For Expats

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The Saudi 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.

The “Privileged Iqama” residency scheme 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.

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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.


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