Saudi Arabia adds five new products to its premium residency program

The initiative aims to further boost the country’s ongoing economic transformation by creating employment opportunities and fostering transfer of knowledge, the Saudi Press Agency reported. File
The initiative aims to further boost the country’s ongoing economic transformation by creating employment opportunities and fostering transfer of knowledge, the Saudi Press Agency reported. File
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Updated 10 January 2024
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Saudi Arabia adds five new products to its premium residency program

Saudi Arabia adds five new products to its premium residency program

RIYADH: In a bid to attract global talent and diversify its economy away from oil, Saudi Arabia has added five new products to its premium residency program.

The program, launched in 2019, aims to allow eligible foreigners to live in the Kingdom and receive benefits such as exemption from paying expat and dependents fees, visa-free international travel, and the right to own real estate and run a business without requiring a sponsor.

The initiative aims to further boost the country’s ongoing economic transformation by creating employment opportunities and fostering transfer of knowledge, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

Specific requirements

Residency products, each with its own specific qualification requirements, will run under categories such as special talent, gifted, investor, entrepreneur, and real estate owner. A one-off application fee for each category has been set at SR4,000 ($1,066).

⁠“With the introduction of these five new premium residency products, we are opening doors to a world of opportunities for professionals and investors. Our aim is to contribute to Saudi Arabia’s effort as a prime destination for talents and investments, contributing significantly to our vision of a diversified, knowledge-based economy,” Mohammad Al-Sultan, CEO of the Premium Residency Center, told Arab News.

“Collaboration with our strategic partners across various government entities has been key in developing these residency products. We offer well-designed products beyond basic benefits, providing a holistic environment for our premium residents to live, work, and contribute to Saudi’s vibrant future,” the top official said.

He was also quoted as saying in a section of the local press that: “We’ve restructured family members’ eligibility for premium residency holders, now including parents as dependents. This change is part of our ongoing efforts to enhance the residency program.”

Benefits

The permit holders will now be able to obtain premium residency status for their family members, run businesses, make money transfers free of charge, and host and invite relatives.

“While each premium residency category has its specific validity period, all holders are required to adhere to the stipulated terms and conditions,” the official said.

In most cases, general application requirements will apply, including the need to hold a valid passport, have a recent medical certificate, and possess legal residency in Saudi Arabia (for those applying within the country).

“We’ve also extended the age limit for dependents to 25 years,” Al-Sultan told Al-Ekhbariya in an interview.

 

Investor

The investor option will offer direct permanent residency to those investing SR7 million and creating at least 10 jobs during the first two years. Those applying will be issued an investment license, and they must also provide a commercial register and articles of incorporation.

Edgard Tawk, CEO and co-founder of Eurisko, a multinational digital innovation firm, said these “offerings bring exciting opportunities for investors like us.  Not only can we establish a corporate presence in Saudi Arabia, but we can also designate it as our strategic headquarters.”

He said with these added perks, the investor residency option “is poised to become a highly sought-after attraction for both regional and international investors.”

Commenting on the report, George Haddad, founder and creative producer at Saudi-based Yellowcore Productions, said: “As a film and TVC producer, the new premium residency options in Saudi Arabia offer the potential for easier access to a growing market, opportunities for business expansion, and the ability to capitalize on the country’s economic growth.”

Haddad was optimistic about the impact of these new policies on the overall growth of his sector. “You may find it easier to establish and expand your production activities, access talent and resources, and explore regional and international business opportunities in the film and TVC industry.”

Entrepreneur residency

This class will allow applicants to nominate two members of staff for special talent status.

Category-1 entrepreneur residency will provide a fixed-term five years renewable for one additional term (subject to meeting ongoing eligibility standards and living in the Kingdom for a minimum of 30 months within the five years). Applicants must have obtained a minimum SR400,000 investment from an accredited organization and hold at least a 20 percent share of the startup.

“Reflecting our commitment, a key criterion for the business investor residency is the provision of employment opportunities for Saudi citizens,” Al-Sultan noted.

The second category will grant permanent residency directly on the condition that the entrepreneur creates at least 10 jobs in the first year and 10 or more jobs in the second year. To qualify, a minimum SR15 million investment will need to be shown alongside proof of a 10 percent share in the business venture.

Real estate ownership

This residency plan will be tied to property ownership or usufruct. Criteria will include owning a real estate asset worth a minimum of SR4 million that is free of existing and future mortgages. Property ownership or usage must not be linked with real estate financing, real estate owned must be residential, developed, and not from undeveloped or unimproved land, and lastly, the property asset must be appraised by accredited valuers from the Kingdom’s Taqeem authority.

“We welcome applications from all nationalities. Our aim is to address the skills gaps in different sectors, so candidates meeting our requirements and objectives are encouraged to apply,” the CEO of the Premium Residency Center said.

Initially, Saudi Arabia launched a one-year limited-duration residency program with an annual fee of SR100,000 and the requirement to prove financial solvency. Meanwhile, unlimited-duration residency costs SR800,000 for permanent residency, again with proof of an applicant’s financial health.

“Saudi Arabia is not just a place to work and invest, but a land of opportunities where innovation, culture, and business thrive together. These new premium residency products serves as our invitation to the world to join us in our journey of transformation and growth,” Al-Sultan told Arab News.

Special talent

To gain the five-year special talent residency option, applicants must be professionals specializing in healthcare and science and earning at least a monthly SR35,000, or researchers with a minimum monthly salary of SR14,000.

Executives seeking special talent status will be required to have an executive-level employment contract, with monthly pay in excess of SR80,000.

“These new residencies are more than just permits; they are a commitment to shaping our nation’s future. By attracting special talents, entrepreneurs, and investors, we are not only boosting our economy but also enriching our cultural and scientific landscape, ” the top official of the Premium Residency Center said.

Gifted residency

This category will cover a fixed-term period of five years and be split into two categories. In the first case, applicants will need to be nominated or be a recipient of an award approved by the Saudi ministries of culture and sports. Alternatively, they must fulfill the minimum eligibility criteria approved by the two ministries.

Todd Albert Nims, a US national born in Saudi Arabia, was excited over the news. Talking to Arab News, he said: “Saudi Arabia is in my heart. It gave me so much (while I was) growing up. As a creative professional in film, theater and the arts, I am humbled to have had the good fortune to give back by helping to grow these sectors in the Kingdom after coming back from the US.”

Mohsin Ali Khan, a financial controller at a cloud gaming company in Riyadh, also expressed similar views. He said the introduction of the five new premium residency options marks a significant development in the Kingdom. He highlighted that the potential influx of specialized talent could have a positive impact on research and development initiatives in the country.


ADNOC to boost production target by 2030

ADNOC to boost production target by 2030
Updated 27 May 2024
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ADNOC to boost production target by 2030

ADNOC to boost production target by 2030

RIYADH: The Abu Dhabi National Oil Co. plans to boost its local manufacturing target for critical industrial products to 90 billion dirhams ($24.5 billion) by 2030 in a bid to strengthen the UAE’s industrial sector and expand local manufacturing capabilities.

ADNOC made the announcement at the “Make it in the Emirates” forum, adding that the new target is part of its expanded In-Country Value program, which aims to drive an additional 178 billion dirhams back into the UAE economy by 2028. 

“This expanded initiative will support the UAE’s economic diversification, attract local and international investors, and provide high-skilled private sector jobs for UAE nationals. Additionally, it will stimulate entrepreneurial growth and drive sustainability in ADNOC’s supply chain,” said Sultan Ahmed Al-Jaber, minister of industry and advanced technology, and ADNOC managing director and group CEO. 

This expanded initiative will support the UAE’s economic diversification, attract local and international investors.

Sultan Ahmed Al-Jaber, UAE minister of industry and advanced technology

The company said its previous 2027 target of 70 billion dirhams worth of products was “delivered ahead of schedule” following the award of two contracts for metal pipes and valves worth 16.8 billion dirhams to local manufacturers.

The contracts include 8.8 billion dirhams for metal pipes to PM Piping Petroleum Equipment, Ajmal Steel, and the Emirati-owned Al Gharbia Pipe Co.; and 8 billion dirhams for mechanical valves to Samamat, Camtech Manufacturing, Tisco Valves Manufacturing, PTPA, MT Valves and Industries.

ADNOC’s expanded ICV program also aims to provide a micro, small and medium enterprises accelerator program to enable Emirati businesses and local mSMEs to conduct business across ADNOC’s supply chain.


Saudi Arabia’s Sports Boulevard doubles its existing investment fund to $533m  

Saudi Arabia’s Sports Boulevard doubles its existing investment fund to $533m  
Updated 27 May 2024
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Saudi Arabia’s Sports Boulevard doubles its existing investment fund to $533m  

Saudi Arabia’s Sports Boulevard doubles its existing investment fund to $533m  

RIYADH: Private sector participation in the Sports Boulevard project is set to increase as the foundation behind Riyadh’s largest linear park plans to double its investment fund to SR2 billion ($533 million). 

In a press release, the Sports Boulevard Foundation announced its partnership with Ajdan Real Estate Development Co. and Albilad Capital to add an additional SR1 billion to the private real estate investment fund “Sports Boulevard Real Estate Fund 1.” 

This increased funding will be utilized to bolster private sector participation within the Arts District, one of the destinations within the Sports Boulevard project. 

The Sports Boulevard Development Co. will continue to hold the majority of units in the fund, while Ajdan Real Estate Development Co. will serve as a developer and primary investor, and Albilad Capital will act as the fund manager. 

This partnership underscores the collaborative effort behind the expansion, signifying a strategic alliance aimed at creating a vibrant urban space that enhances Riyadh’s cultural and economic landscape.  

The project aims to develop a mixed-use lifestyle destination consisting of residential, retail, office, and entertainment components.  

Covering a land area of over 39,000 sq. m. at the heart of the Arts District, the total combined built-up site spans approximately 240,000 sq. m., boasting over 100,000 sq. m. of net leasable area.   

The design of this destination draws inspiration from the Sports Boulevard Design Code, influenced by the Salmani Architectural Style. This ensures a dynamic and immersive lifestyle experience for both residents and visitors. 

Situated at the intersection of Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Road and Prince Turki bin Abdulaziz Al Awwal Road, it offers expansive public spaces, recreational areas, and cycling-friendly tracks. 

Covering an area of 184,000 sq. m., the project extends beyond private development parcels, providing ample space for recreational activities and pedestrian-friendly pathways, efficiently linked to the promenade and cycling bridge. 

Sports Boulevard, a mega project launched by King Salman bin Abdulaziz in 2019, and supported by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, spans over 135 km on Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Road.  

It features safe green pathways for pedestrians, cyclists, athletes, and horse riders, connecting Wadi Hanifah in the west to Wadi Al Sulai in the east. 

Additionally, the project includes over 4.4 million sq. m. of greenery, open spaces, and up to 50 multidisciplinary sports facilities. It also hosts several unique destinations and investment zones, totaling an area exceeding 3 million sq. m. 


Closing Bell: Saudi benchmark index edges down to close at 11,831

Closing Bell: Saudi benchmark index edges down to close at 11,831
Updated 27 May 2024
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Closing Bell: Saudi benchmark index edges down to close at 11,831

Closing Bell: Saudi benchmark index edges down to close at 11,831

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Tadawul All Share Index slipped on Monday, losing 19.42 points, or 0.16 percent, to close at 11,831.22.  

The total trading turnover of the benchmark index was SR5.8 billion ($1.5 billion) as 110 stocks advanced, while 108 retreated.   

On the other hand, the Kingdom’s parallel market Nomu also slipped 189.65 points, or 0.71 percent, to close at 26,448.54. This comes as 30 stocks advanced while as many as 34 retreated.  

Similarly, the MSCI Tadawul Index also dropped 2.67 points, or 0.18 percent, to close at 1,470.41.    

The best-performing stock of the day was Saudi Paper Manufacturing Co. The company’s share price surged 4.89 percent to SR75.10.  

Other top performers included CHUBB Arabia Cooperative Insurance Co. as well as Middle East Specialized Cables Co., whose share prices soared by 3.96 percent and 3.46 percent, to stand at SR34.10 and SR32.85 respectively.  

On Nomu, Osool and Bakheet Investment Co. was the top gainer, with its share price rising by 9.22 percent to SR48.   

Other best performers on Nomu were View United Real Estate Development Co. as well as Al-Modawat Specialized Medical Co., whose share prices soared by 6.53 percent and 6.20 percent to stand at SR79.90 and SR150.80, respectively.  

Additional top gainers included Almujtama Alraida Medical Co. and Bena Steel Industries Co.  

On the announcement front, Saudi Basic Industries Corp., known as SABIC, received all necessary approvals from relevant authorities to complete the acquisition of its subsidiary Saudi Iron and Steel Co., also known as HADEED, by the Public Investment Fund. 

In a statement on Tadawul, SABIC announced that it has satisfied all transaction-related conditions to complete the SR12.5 billion acquisition announced earlier in September 2023. 

Furthermore, Saudi Arabia aluminum producer Al Taiseer Group Talco Industrial Co. is listing a 30 percent stake on the Tadawul stock exchange following an initial public offering, setting the final offer price at SR43 per share. 

The company is selling 12 million shares and has completed the book-building process for institutional investors, which saw a coverage of 68.5 times the total offer shares, according to Alinma Investment Co., the lead manager and financial adviser to the issuance. 

The book-building process for retail investors will run for two days starting on May 28. During this time, they can subscribe to a maximum of 10 percent of the shares. The final share allocation is set for June 2. 


Saudi Arabia focused on promoting energy efficiency: top official

Saudi Arabia focused on promoting energy efficiency: top official
Updated 27 May 2024
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Saudi Arabia focused on promoting energy efficiency: top official

Saudi Arabia focused on promoting energy efficiency: top official

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s budding energy efficiency sector has witnessed notable growth, with the number of licensed service providers reaching 55 by the end of 2023, says a top official. 

As the Kingdom strives to reduce its carbon footprint, with recently amplified goals to achieve net-zero by 2060, the Saudi Energy Efficiency Center is working to aide the nation in realizing these ambitions, Nasser Al-Ghamdi, the CEO of the center noted. 

In his inaugural address at the Saudi ESCO forum, the top executive stressed the entity’s role in raising awareness about energy efficiency. He highlighted that 26 universities nationwide have adopted energy efficiency topics and courses in their curricula.

“Since the inception of the center, we have launched various initiatives that will help in reducing energy consumption,” Al- Ghamdi said.

Among these undertakings, the body has succeeded in launching and implementing more than 200 training programs in the field of energy efficiency, the CEO added. 

The executive emphasized that the center has strived to create the necessary ecosystem for suppliers and their beneficiaries in this “promising market” to ensure the quality of energy-efficiency service providers.

He added that this will be achieved through the application of a licensing system for those interested in investing in this field after meeting the technical requirements necessary to provide the service. 

Highlighting the role that the fledgling sector is playing in achieving net-zero goals, the CEO said: “The sector, which is considered relatively new, is helping companies and enterprises and buildings in finding solutions to efficiently use energy, including financing and managing solutions and projects. These companies also contribute energy consumption analysis and knowing opportunities for companies to improve their consumption.”

Due to the absence of energy efficiency activities in the commercial sector, one of the highest energy consumers in the Kingdom, accounting for 15.7 percent of total consumption of facilities in the nation, the body launched a pilot project to improve this field. 

The initiative aims to improve conditions in the commercial sector by raising business owners’ awareness of opportunities, as implementing energy auditing projects is expected to improve overall efficiency.


Yanbu Royal Commission teams up with Skytower Investments for industrial projects development

Yanbu Royal Commission teams up with Skytower Investments for industrial projects development
Updated 27 May 2024
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Yanbu Royal Commission teams up with Skytower Investments for industrial projects development

Yanbu Royal Commission teams up with Skytower Investments for industrial projects development

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Yanbu governorate is poised to see the development of several industrial projects following an agreement between its Royal Commission and Skytower Investments Ltd. 

The memorandum of understanding, signed by the commission’s CEO, Abdul Hadi Al-Juhani, aims to develop industries in the petrochemicals sector, specialized chemicals, renewable energy, and other manufacturing divisions. 

This MoU signing is part of the Royal Commission’s ongoing efforts to attract more local and international investments to Yanbu Industrial City in promising sectors, aligning with the objectives of Saudi Vision 2030 programs. 

Headquartered in Riyadh, STI is an investment firm specializing in renewable technology, green manufacturing, supply chain, and green power production. 

“This is a result of significant development over the past nine months by both teams paving the way for more international manufacturing and localization projects landing in Yanbu,” Skytower said in a tweet on X. 

It added: “This agreement will pave the way for more international manufacturing and localization projects landing in Yanbu, an industrial heartland with complete industry infrastructure and extensive manufacturing experiences.” 

In April, STI signed a four-party joint agreement with Chinese automaker Chery Automobile Co., the Ministry of Investment, and the National Industrial Development Center.  

This collaboration, driven by Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030, signifies a crucial step toward future economic opportunities and the well-being of the Saudi people. 

In August 2023, the Kingdom’s untapped southern region took a significant step toward welcoming international travelers.  

Cruise Saudi and the Royal Commission for Jubail and Yanbu signed an MoU to unlock the region’s tourism potential. This strategic partnership was aimed at positioning the southern region as a captivating tourist destination, fostering growth in the travel sector and contributing to the region’s economic advancement. 

Formalized during the MASAREB ceremony held in Jazan, the agreement encompassed a spectrum of efforts, from knowledge transfer to mutual alignment on ventures aimed at establishing the destination and yielding a positive local impact. 

STI is a global partnership between NGOs, green businesses with advanced eco-friendly technology, sustainable manufacturing, and Saudi’s national sustainable economic development authorities.

Their aim is to develop practical plans for industry decarbonization, economic revitalization, technological advancement, and carbon-neutral technology.