MAKKAH: The Saudi Ministry of Interior (MoI) has announced King Salman’s approval to extend several visa and residence initiatives for expatriates free of charge.
An official source in the MOI said that this was one of the efforts by the Saudi government to mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on people, private sector establishments, investors and economic activities in the Kingdom, while taking preventive measures to avoid its spread.
It also allows for the extension of the validity of expired residencies for expatriates who are currently outside Saudi Arabia on exit and return visas, which ended during the period of suspension of entry and exit from the Kingdom, for a period of three months free of charge.
The approval also includes visas that have not been used, and the extension of visas of expats currently outside the Kingdom, as well as tourist visas.
The source said that according to the content of the royal decree, these exceptions are subject to follow-up and change as required.
Samir Akasha said that he was unable to return after visiting his relatives in Faiyum, Egypt due to the suspension of entry and exit from the Kingdom.
He said this decision had a great humanitarian dimension, and its timing was in the best of circumstances.
Khalid Al-Hamdan, chairman of the trade committee of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said that Saudi Arabia was seeking the best interests of its citizens and residents. The initiatives for the renewal of residencies constituted support for the private sector, which would provide positive signs for the economy, he said.
The world economy had been affected by the pandemic and boosting the confidence of citizens and residents in the Saudi economy paved the way to pass this difficult stage, he said.
“Citizens and residents will see the benefits of this decision, and employers will be able to better rearrange their priorities and reshape their accounts with a balanced vision that stimulates rapid progression,” Al-Hamdan said.
CEO of Development Solutions for Real Estate Development Mohamed Iqbal Alawi said that the extension of the renewal of residencies was one of several initiatives to revive the Saudi economy over the past six months.
Saudi Arabia is seeking the best interests of its citizens and residents.
Khalid Al-Hamdan, Chairman of the trade committee of Chamber of Commerce and Industry
Alawi said that these initiatives summarize the ways to reinforce the pillars of the economy, which was affected globally. He said that these measures, effective initiatives and the huge funds that had been pumped into the economy by the Saudi government had played a prominent role in reducing the impact on commercial establishments.
He said that this initiative would motivate workers in the private sector who have suffered from the pandemic and its effects.
Alawi said that the economic reports in the market were encouraging and indicated recovery during the next three months, and that these plans and strategies were a lifeline for the economy in general.
Mahmoud Rashwan, a businessman from Madinah, said that the private sector was a partner in development and undertook a large part of development.
Rashwan said that it came from the principle of partnership, state responsibility and trust to this subsidized sector. The state had always been a forerunner in such initiatives and had outperformed many developed countries, he said.