Saudi Vision 2030 is the government initiative being introduced into Saudi Arabia. The nation’s economic shake-up will benefit expats exponentially, as a US-style green card system is set to be introduced to the country within the next five years.
Expats are currently only able to remain in Saudi by investing through the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority, or under the Kafala sponsorship system which is used to monitor migrant labourers. The new Saudi green card will change the lives of expats; allowing them to remain in the country indefinitely, and being able to invest in or rent a property without a sponsor. Long-term Saudi expats will also be entitled to a pension scheme.
However, little has been said about the Saudi green card since April 2016. The majority of expats are starting to wonder about the application system. However, we have comprised three top tips to help you get your hands on a Saudi green card when the time comes.
So far, the Saudi housing sector has had to rely on government spending. The current homeownership level is currently 47% and Housing Minister Majed al-Hogail wants this addressed by getting “both local and foreign investors to develop the housing sector.”
It is not only the housing sector that is opening its arm widely to foreign investment. Saudi Arabia approved rules in June to open its retail sector to greater foreign investment, as part of wide-ranging economic reforms. This decision is part of Vision 2030, in a bid to wean Saudi Arabia off of oil revenue reliance.
Therefore, if you have dabbled in foreign investment, or are an expert, Saudi could be a fantastic expat opportunity in the near future.
If you are highly qualified in your field, chances are it will not be too hard to get your hands on a Saudi green card. Fahd bin Jumaa, vice president of Economic Committee at the consultative body, told Arab News: “The new system will be similar to the US residence model. The Saudi government is interested in taking advantage of foreign investors and extraordinary expats.”
Considering these plans are not set to be put in motion for the next five years, this gives potential expats scope to hone in their skills and become experts in their fields. This will put potential expats in a better position when the scheme becomes available.
Although no clear information has been provided in terms of foreign nationals and criminal convictions, we can assume that the Saudi green card will have similar guidelines to that of the US. For most of us, remaining conviction-free is a simple task, but there are a number of potential Saudi expats that may have chequered pasts. Age, crime, number of convictions, and prison sentence imposed all come in to play when the US are analysing their green card submissions.
It seems that those who committed crimes under the age of eighteen, have served under six months in jail, or have seen a period of five years elapse since their crime was committed to have a slightly better chance of being granted a green card in the States. As mentioned, there have been so specific guidelines in regards to the Saudi green card, but we can assume similar legislation will be imposed.