Saudi ‘green card’ online platform is open for business

Saudi Arabia on Sunday launched a new special residency scheme aimed at boosting investment and non-oil revenues. (Shutterstock)
Updated 24 June 2019

Saudi ‘green card’ online platform is open for business

  • The scheme will allow expats to do business without a Saudi sponsor, buy property and sponsor visas for relatives
  • Approved by the Saudi cabinet last month, but the portal began accepting applications on Sunday

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia's Premium Residency scheme took effect on Sunday, three years after Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman announced the program as part of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 reform plan.

The crown prince stressed in an interview with Al Arabia TV that the new system will not undermine citizens’ rights, rather it will serve their interests. 

He affirmed that the Premium Residency will be an important source of revenues to boost the Saudi economy and will contribute to the creation of jobs for the public.

On Sunday, the Premium Residency Center began receiving applications for the new residency system through the electronic platform SAPRC (saprc.gov.sa).

 

RIGHTS AND BENEFITS

The Permanent Premium Residency costs SR800,000 ($213,000) paid once, while the Premium Residency costs SR100,000 annually.

Rights and privileges:

• Residence in the Kingdom with one’s family.

• Visit visas for relatives.

• Recruitment of domestic workers from abroad.

• Ownership of real estate for residential, commercial and industrial purposes, in areas other than the cities of Makkah and Madinah and border areas.

• Usufruct rights on real estate in Makkah and Madinah for a period not exceeding 99 years.

• Ownership of private means of transportation and other movables.

• Working at private establishments with the ability to change jobs; this shall extend to family members. Professions and jobs limited to Saudis shall be excluded.

• Exiting and entering the Kingdom at one’s own accord.

• Use of lanes designated for Saudis at the Kingdom’s exit and entry points.

• Engagement in business activities in accordance with the Foreign Investment Law.

On the platform, applicants can upload all the required documents and pay the necessary fees. The platform also provides an introduction to the system and the center, which offers two types of Saudi Premium Residency: Permanent Premium Residency with a one-time payment for life, and Premium Residency with a yearly financial fee and many privileges.

The initiative, approved last month by the Cabinet under King Salman’s chairmanship, gives those who wish to reside or invest in Saudi Arabia an attractive investment environment that will achieve economic growth and development.

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READ MORE

Saudi cabinet approves new expatriate residency scheme

No sponsor? No problem: Saudi Shoura Council approves new ‘green card’ residency

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The center is a financially and administratively independent entity associated with the Council of Economic and Development Affairs, which cooperates with government sectors to provide comprehensive services for those with Saudi Premium Residency and those wishing to obtain it.

The Permanent Premium Residency costs SR800,000 ($213,000) paid once, while the Premium Residency costs SR100,000 annually. 

The Premium Residency is different from the Investor Residency in that the holder of the former is not associated with a sponsor, while the holder of the latter must have an investment establishment as a sponsor. 

Analysts say the program will largely benefit wealthy individuals who have lived in Saudi Arabia for years without permanent residency or multinational companies seeking to do long-term business in the Kingdom.

Saudi Arabia is currently home to some 10 million overseas workers.

Expat workers are typically sponsored by a Saudi employer and are required to get visas to exit and enter the Kingdom.

 


Global stars shine at Saudi leisure forum

Updated 14 October 2019

Global stars shine at Saudi leisure forum

  • “It (Saudi Movies) will bring Saudis closer to the world and the world closer to Saudi,” Shahrukh Khan 

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia took another step toward establishing its place on the global entertainment map with a major industry event in Riyadh on Sunday.

The Joy Forum19 brought together entertainment promoters and pioneers from around the world, along with global stars such as Indian actor and film producer Shah Rukh Khan; Hong Kong martial artist, actor, film director Jackie Chan and Belgian actor and martial artist Jean-Claude Van Damme.

The event was organized by the General Entertainment Authority (GEA), which signed several important agreements on the day, including a financing guarantee program for small and medium-sized enterprises.

Participants are ushered in on the first day of the Joy Forum19 event in Riyadh. (Social media photo)

“Our message is for both, locally and internationally. Me and my generation suffered a lot, we had lots of time on our hands,” GEA chairman Turki Al-Sheikh said at the event.

“Today you are witnessing things we have never had in Saudi Arabia. We have 300,000 visitors to our events, and our sales have hit 80 percent.

“Saudi Arabia has never seen anything like Riyadh Season, we have over 400 sponsors, which is unprecedented.”

Al-Sheikh announced that the authority had named a stadium after singer Mohammed Abdo, the “Artist of Arabs,” and another after Abu Baker Salim, the father of Khaleeji music. 


READ MORE: Three MoUs signed at opening day of Joy Forum19 in Riyadh



Drunken master

The actors expressed what it meant to be movie stars and how wide-reaching their influence could be.

Jackie Chan recalled that when he was a new actor, he often acted like a drunken fighter until he realized that he has a responsibility towards younger fans. 

Jackie Chan: no longer a "drunken master". (AN photo by Basheer Saleh)

“All over the world I keep drinking and fighting (in films).  I realized that I made drunken master cool — so I stopped,” he said. One of Chan's most popular movies was the 1978 action comedy martial arts film "Drunken Master".

“When you’re 20 you don’t have this inner thought — anything that makes the audience laugh you do, but later on especially (when I went) to Africa so many years ago — they started doing the drunken style — the children look up to me. So, I realized we have a responsibility to the children so all those years I corrected those actions: no dirty comedy words or action,” he said.

He attributed his awareness in being responsible for the content he produces to the fans. “I’m really thankful to the fans in making me a good actor.”

Chan spoke about his experience in acting martial arts in both the United States and Asia. “I realized we have two different markets one for America another for Asia. They are totally two different things.”

The safety measures the US takes for stunts is very impeccable making sure of the wellbeing of the actor comes first. However, in Asia it’s a different story, “In Asia when I want to do a stunt, I roll, jump (and then go to the) hospital, he said laughingly.

“It’s so difficult sometimes in the USA so many rules- Jackie Chan movies: NO RULES!” he said and received applause from the audience.

 

Good start

Jean Claude Van Damme gave a shout out and a big thank you to all his “brother and sisters from Saudi Arabia,” He said he got a royal treatment fit for “Kings and Queens”. He went on to reveal that his hotel room at the Ritz Carlton Riyadh was so big he could easily “roller-skate” in it.

Jean Claude Van Damme: "Let's do a movie together". (AN photo by Basheer Saleh)

“I’m honored to be invited here. I know it’s your first time to do this event, but I know it will have a very bright future and I hope next year you will invite more people,” he said.

He said he may not be a “good talker” but expressed his joy at being in Saudi Arabia saying. “I’m happy to be here and I hope to have more connection later with the audience.”

Van Damme remarked how that in every country in the world you have treasure actors and movies with different cultures, “In the Middle East I don’t know what the taste will be, but I know they love American, Asian and Indian movies. They have a broad taste. (Saudi Arabia) should do a movie with all of us together!”

 

Crossing barriers

Sharukh Khan emphasized the importance of every country telling their story through movies; “As long as we are telling the story in whatever language it doesn’t matter. Cinema crosses all barriers.”
 

Shahrukh Khan: "I'd audition for a Saudi movie". (Social media photo)

With the opening of Saudi Arabia to the world and Cinemas, he said, “I can’t wait to talk about the Saudi films...It will bring Saudis closer to the world and the world closer to Saudi.”

“The stories that you tell should talk about goodness and people should be engaged with the content and it should bring them together. People want to laugh and sadly have to cry, to be entertained and to feel.”

Sharukh noted that Saudi Arabia has started to make movies and he’s watched the King Faisal movie, "Born a King". 

“You’ll always find gems in all movie industries and I think there’s are gems in Saudi and as a matter of fact one of the things I’d like to do is audition for a Saudi movie … Please give me an opportunity!” he said, eliciting a thunderous applause from the audience.


Red carpet

Abdulaziz AlMuzaini, co-founder and CEO of the Saudi Arabian Myrkott Animation Studio; gave a heartfelt thanks full of gratitude to King Salman and the Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, saying: “If it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t have dreamed of this moment or this panel.”

Some of the celebrities invited to the event walk the red carpet. (AN photo by Basheer Saleh)

Lebanese actor Wahid Jalal, who was the voice of Long John Silver in Treasure Island, came onstage for the opening of the event. “Children love heroes and they try to imitate them,” he said. 

He also delighted the crowd by performing Silver’s famous laugh.

Some of the celebrities who walked down the red carpet were American actor Jason Momoa, star of Aquaman; Amr Adeeb, Balqis Fathi, Yusra, Boosy Shalabi, Lojien and Aseel Omran, Mohammed Hamaki, Nawal AlZoghbi, Talal Salama, Ahlam Al-Shamsi, Hussain AlJismi, Suad Abdulla, Ibrahem Alharbi, Tariq Alali and Abdulnaser Darweesh.

The gala dinner hosted 500 guests and was a private event, but the red carpet captured the essence of where Saudi is moving to culturally.