Saudi Arabia is an oil-rich country and center of foreign investment. This makes the country highly appealing to foreign talent, workers, students, and investors. Saudi Arabia’s economy relied on oil resource for a long period but now the government is discovering alternate resources to boost its economy. New immigration policies are some of the major steps towards new resources.
Saudi Arabia has decided that tourism should be one of the major industries participating in the country’s economy. Besides this, Saudi Arabia wants to attract foreign investment more than ever. To achieve the new goals, KSA government has updated its immigration policies and launching new programs of residency and e visa. We will have a look at recent changes and new immigration policies of Saudi Arabia.
1. New Residency Program
Saudi Arabia has launched a new residency program in 2019. New iqama named Privileged Iqama is also known as Saudi Arabia Green Card residency. It allows foreigners to live and work in the kingdom without any Saudi Arabian Sponsor or kafeel. It is a revolutionary step of the Saudi government that foreigners will be living independently. Usually, foreign residents either workers or expats are dependent on Sponsor but this new residency iqama will allow them to live, work and establish a business without any kafeel.
Two types of residence permits will be granted through a new residency program, the temporary residency, and permanent residency. Temporary residency iqama will be valid for one year but it can be renewed every year.
The permanent residency iqama will be issued for an indefinite period. It will not need any renewal and never expire.
Neither temporary nor permanent privileged iqama will grant the right to apply for Saudi Arabian Citizenship.
2. Absher Update
Another big change made by Saudi Arabian government is that foreigners need to create their Absher account in order to check the iqama expiry date. Previously absher account was not required to use many iqama related government services which were available online to use. Not only the expiry date of iqama but also many other services have been moved to Absher website.
Now, it is mandatory for all residents to register their Absher account if they want to use any iqama related online government service like iqama expiry, iqama fund, driving license, exit and re-entry visa, etc. You can read how to check iqama expiry date Ksa.
3. E Visas Launched
Besides other immigration changes, the government of Saudi Arabia has launched various e visas including touristic e visa, Umrah e visa, and Hajj e visa. Formula-E is a designated portal for those who want to get Saudi Arabia e visa for tourism purpose. Visitors can obtain e visa up to fourteen days in order to visit Saudi Arabia.
On the other hand, Saudi Arabian government allowed hajj and umrah visitors to visit other cities of Saudi Arabia. Formerly, hajj and umrah pilgrims could stay on the holy cities Makkah and Madinah but they can visit other cities of Saudi Arabia. The purpose of these changes is to boost the tourism industry in the country. Hajj and Umrah pilgrim will also be able to enjoy tourism in other parts of Saudi Arabia and also they can visit their family members or relatives who are already working in Saudi Arabia.