Saudi cabinet approves new expatriate residency scheme

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

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.