Saudi cabinet approves new expatriate residency scheme

Saudi Arabia’s cabinet approved a “green card”-style residency scheme on Tuesday, which allows expatriates to get permanent residency in Kingdom for the first time. (Shutterstock/File Photo)
Updated 16 May 2019

Saudi cabinet approves new expatriate residency scheme

  • Privileged Iqama system offers benefits to highly skilled expatriates and owners of capital funds
  • Different from existing iqama system, because residents would not require Saudi sponsor

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s cabinet approved the “Privileged Iqama” residency scheme on Tuesday, which 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.


Houthis threaten global energy security: Arab coalition

Updated 27 min 15 sec ago

Houthis threaten global energy security: Arab coalition

  • The Arab coalition denounced Saturday's attack on a Saudi Aramco gas plant
  • The Yemeni militant attack sparked a fire but caused no casualties or disruption to production

RIYADH: The Arab coalition fighting to restore the internationally recognized government in Yemen on Monday denounced a Houthi attack on a Saudi Aramco gas plant in Saudi Arabia.
The militants claimed 10 drones struck the Shaybah natural gas liquefaction plant near the border with the UAE on Saturday.
“The Houthi militia have endangered global energy security by targeting Shaybah oil field in Saudi Arabia,” spokesperson Col. Turki Al-Maliki said.
The militants, who are based in Yemen and backed by Iran, have used drones laden with explosives to target infrastructure in the Kingdom.
Speaking at a weekly press conference in Riyadh, Col. Al-Maliki said the that Houthi and Daesh militias are conducting simultaneous operations in Yemen, stressing that the Houthis, who sparked the Yemen war in 2014, continue to pose a clear threat in the southern Red Sea.
The coalition, which includes Saudi Arabia and the UAE, intervened in the Yemen conflict in 2015 to support forces loyal to the internationally recognized government after it was driven from the capital Sanaa by the Houthis.