Saudi Shoura Council approves new residency for skilled expatriates, investors

Saudi Arabia’s Shoura Council on Wednesday approved a special residency permit for entrepreneurs, investors, and skilled expatriates. The new Green Card-style “Privileged Iqama” (residency permit) law will see foreigners benefit from the new residency scheme which will not require a Saudi sponsor or employer.

According to the law, the residency permits will be offered to highly skilled expatriates who will benefit from added advantages including the ability to recruit workers, own property and transport, and the freedom of entering and exiting the Kingdom without a sponsor.

The permits will also include a family status so that a holder can issue visit visas for relatives.

There will be two types of systems under the permit, one which can be used for an unlimited period while the other is valid on a yearly basis and subject to renewal.

Requirements for foreigners to obtain the new Privileged Iqama permit include having a valid passport, good credit report, a health report, and a clean criminal record.

This new law was approved by 76 members of the Shoura Council while 55 opposed.

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