Riyadh: Saudi Arabia has officially approved the Special Residency scheme which enables eligible expatriates to live and work in the oil-rich country.
Chaired by King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saudi, the weekly Cabinet session rubber-stamped the new scheme which scraps the mandatory Kafeel (local sponsor) for the first time.
The Shura Council had given the go-ahead for the “Privileged Iqama” residency scheme early May and referred it to the council of ministers.
The new Privileged residency system carries a string of privileges which will benefit highly skilled expatriates, owners of capital funds, as well as their families.
The Saudi “green card” was first mentioned by Crown Prince, Deputy Premier and Defence Minister Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saudi nearly three years ago when outlining the Vision 2030 road-map to diversify the economy.
Eligible expatriates who meet the required terms and conditions will enjoy a family status, obtain visit visa for family members and, hire domestic helpers, purchase real estate properties, buy means of transport benefit from educational and health services and all other facilities on equal footing with Saudi nationals.
Beneficiaries of the new Iqama scheme will have to pay a special fee to be set by the executive bylaws, which will be ready within 90 days.
They are required to be aged at least 21, hold valid passports, prove their financial solvency, have valid residency for expats living in Saudi as well as a clean judicial record and a health report free of communicable diseases.