Businesses urge govt to scrap exit/re-entry visa

Updated 27 November 2014

Businesses urge govt to scrap exit/re-entry visa

Prominent business executives have called on the government to scrap the exit and re-entry visa system, saying it would make Saudi Arabia a more attractive place for foreign investors and skilled foreign workers.
“The system of having exit re-entry visas is creating unnecessary hassle. The Kingdom must seriously consider scrapping this system like in other GCC countries such as Bahrain and the UAE,” said Irshad Cader, a business executive in Jeddah, on Tuesday.
“As long as expats have valid iqamas, they should be able to move freely in and out of the Kingdom. Unless an iqama holder stays away more than six months, he must be allowed to enter the Kingdom without any issues. This will encourage more qualified expats to work in the Kingdom,” he said.
Akbar Batcha, another business executive, welcomed the plan to issue five-year resident permits. He also supported the call to scrap the exit re-entry system, at least for business leaders, investors and professionals who travel abroad frequently.
He said the five-year iqama system would help Saudi Arabia collect a huge amount in fees. “If you multiply SR5,000 by 10 million expats in the Kingdom, it will be a fabulous amount,” he said, adding that the system would encourage expatriates to spend a substantial portion of their earnings in the Kingdom.
“According to one report, foreign remittances of expats rose in the first nine months of this year compared to the previous year. This report should encourage the government to adopt expat-friendly decisions such as the five-year iqama to increase their spending in the Kingdom,” he told Arab News.
Cader also proposed a salary-based sponsorship system so that expatriates who earn a certain minimum monthly income would be eligible to sponsor their families. “For example, an expat who earns a salary of SR10,000 must be allowed to bring his family over irrespective of his profession,” he said.

King of Latin pop Enrique Iglesias launches Ad Diriyah festival

Spanish superstar Enrique Iglesias performs at the launch of a three-day festival of music, culture and motorsport on Thursday in Ad Diriyah, near Riyadh. (Twitter)
Updated 10 min 58 sec ago

King of Latin pop Enrique Iglesias launches Ad Diriyah festival

  • Enrique Iglesias took the stage in an outdoor arena in historic Ad Diriyah
  • The cheers were deafening, the excitement electric and the performance magical

RIYADH: Spanish superstar Enrique Iglesias launched a three-day festival  of music, culture and motorsport on Thursday with a stunning concert at an outdoor arena in historic Ad Diriyah.

The king of Latin pop took the stage by storm and stole the hearts of thousands in the crowd, whose screams could be heard from a long way away. “I love you Enrique,” a group of girls in the audience shouted.

As he waved his hand back and forth in the air, the crowd started doing the same while jumping up and down. The cheers were deafening, the excitement electric and the performance magical. 

No theatrics were excluded as displays of fireworks and lasers wowed the audience. The singer asked the crowd if they spoke Spanish, and everyone screamed “Yes.”

While stage smoke poured into the arena a female performer sang a duet with Iglesias, who then delighted the crowd with some impromptu salsa dancing in front of the stage.

Fans waved their uplifted phones with their screens and flashes along with the music, while others tried to capture the performance.

“You can run, you can hide but you can’t escape my love,” sang Iglesias while the crowd screamed.

Earlier the R&B singer, songwriter and dancer Jason Derulo persuaded the crowd to put on their dancing shoes with an energetic set.

“Saudi, whassup! This is a dream come true for me! Since we are in Saudi Arabia I want to do things a little different,” he told the audience. He said his mother taught him to never visit empty handed, so his gift to Saudi Arabia was the debut performance of a new song.

Thursday’s entertainment will be followed on Friday by shows from Arab music star Amr Diab and the Black Eyed Peas. The climax of the festival comes on Saturday with the Saudia Ad Diriyah Formula E Grand Prix motor race, followed by headline performances by OneRepublic and the megastar DJ/producer David Guetta.