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.
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.