Green card only for foreign investors, top expats

Updated 14 June 2016

Green card only for foreign investors, top expats

JEDDAH: Saudi green card will only be given to foreign investors and highly qualified experts among expats, according to a top Shoura Council official.
He said a number of ministries are still studying the procedures of granting the permanent residence card. The regulations will be announced soon.
Speaking to Arab News, Fahd bin Jumaa, vice president of Economic Committee at the consultative body, said the Kingdom expects to reap economic benefits generated by experts in the expat community.
Many expats are eyeing the card that will enable them to stay in the Kingdom.
“The new system will be similar to the US residence model. The Saudi government is interested in taking advantage of foreign investors and extraordinary expats,” bin Jumaa said.
Awad Al-Assiri, a Shoura Council member, previously told Arab News that the plan would be discussed in the body’s full sessions, in the same way other legislation is studied before being passed to the Cabinet for approval.
“The green card will attract foreign investment to the Kingdom. Many expatriates will take advantage of the new program. At the same time, the Kingdom will benefit from the fees paid by expats to have a green card,” he said.
The system is expected to generate around $10 billion annually through reduced remittances and other sources, besides bringing in billions of dollars in foreign investment, say economic experts.
The plan will abolish the existing sponsorship system, with expatriates required to pay Zakat and possibly value-added tax.
The card will also allow them to own property and undertake business activities. The Kingdom is home to over 10 million foreign workers.

First group of Sri Lankan Muslims begin Hajj journey

Updated 17 July 2019

First group of Sri Lankan Muslims begin Hajj journey

  • 4,000 to partake in this year’s pilgrimage after Saudi Arabia increased quota

COLOMBO: Nearly 180 Sri Lankan Hajj pilgrims left for Saudi Arabia on Monday night, but not before thanking the Kingdom for the comprehensive facilities offered to them.

Mohamed Hashim Mohamed Haleem, Sri Lanka’s minister of postal services and Muslim religious affairs, said that this year’s issuing of Hajj visas was smooth due to the new e-Hajj services introduced by the Saudi government. 

“We were able to process all 4,000 Hajj visas efficiently. All of them were issued well in time,” Haleem said.

He added that officials from his ministry will be available at the airport to assist the pilgrims with their departures.

The minister said the flights of pilgrims this year will be ferried by both Saudi Arabian Airlines and Sri Lankan Airlines. Haleem, who intends to participate in this year’s Hajj, said that the last flight of Sri Lankan pilgrims will leave Colombo on Aug. 7.

Sajjath Mohammed, a journalist from Madawala News, praised the e-Hajj service, saying: “The biometric services for the visas were available to pilgrims in Kandy and Batticaloa in addition to Colombo, the capital of the island.”

Rizmi Reyal, president of the International Airline Ticketing Academy in Sri Lanka, said that this year the Hajj services from Colombo have been enhanced to give a better experience to the pilgrims. He thanked the Saudi government, the Muslim Religious Affairs Ministry in Colombo, the Saudi Embassy in Colombo and the Sri Lankan Embassy in Riyadh for playing their part in these improvements.

The Sri Lankan government will also send a medical team to attend to any urgent needs of the pilgrims before they are taken to the nearest medical facilities in the two holy cities.