The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) is a positive location for overseas expertise to reside and work. Employees in Saudi Arabia profit from tax-free earnings, comparatively easy visa guidelines, reasonably priced residing prices, an English-speaking enterprise group, low crime charges, and wealthy tradition.
In reality, of the roughly 14 million employed people within the KSA, 73% are overseas nationals. The nation presents ample alternatives for professionals to develop their careers and supplies international firms with a big and various expertise pool of extremely expert employees.
People who arrive in Saudi Arabia with a piece allow should acquire an Iqama, or residence visa, which the KSA authorities makes use of to handle all expats within the nation. Employers should apply for and sponsor Iqamas for overseas expertise in Saudi Arabia.
On this information, study an Iqama, the appliance course of, prices, noncompliance dangers to think about, and find out how to simplify hiring and relocating overseas expertise in Saudi Arabia.
Desk of Contents
That means of Iqama in Saudi Arabia
An Iqama is a residence visa that permits overseas residents to reside and work in Saudi Arabia. International employees should have an Iqama residence visa in Saudi Arabia and a piece allow to adjust to Saudi Arabia’s labor laws and immigration insurance policies.
How one can Get hold of an Iqama Visa in Saudi Arabia
Earlier than an expat can reside and work in Saudi Arabia, they have to obtain sponsorship from an area employer, equivalent to a Saudi firm or overseas entity licensed to do enterprise within the nation. The employer applies and secures the required work allow and Iqama for every overseas worker.
The next steps define find out how to acquire an Iqama visa in Saudi Arabia:
1. Apply for a Block Visa
The sponsoring firm should first apply for a block visa approval from the Ministry of Labor and Social Improvement (MLSD). Block visas are quotas issued by the MLSD that allow entities to sponsor overseas staff for long-term work authorization. The MLSD grants the block visa based mostly on the applicant’s nationality and job position.
2. Get hold of a Visa Authorization Quantity + Energy of Lawyer
Upon block visa approval, the sponsoring firm should acquire a visa authorization quantity and energy of legal professional by means of the Ministry of International Affairs within the KSA. This step permits the sponsoring firm to lodge a piece allow software of their worker’s nation of residence on the applicable Saudi Diplomatic Mission.
3. Apply for a Work Allow
As soon as the sponsoring firm obtains a visa authorization quantity and energy of legal professional, it should apply for a piece allow on its worker’s behalf. The work allow software have to be accompanied by the worker’s medical certificates issued by an authorized medical middle.
4. Enter Saudi Arabia to Start Work
Upon approval of the work allow, the overseas worker can enter the KSA and begin working.
5. Submit Iqama and Work Allow Software
Inside 90 days of the worker’s arrival, the sponsoring employer should submit an software for a piece allow and Iqama to the MLSD. If the overseas worker must exit and re-enter Saudi Arabia at any time through the validity of their work allow and Iqama, the sponsor should submit an exit and re-entry allow to the Ministry of Inside.
How Lengthy Is an Iqama Visa Legitimate?
A overseas worker’s work allow and Iqama are legitimate for one yr from the problem date and will be subsequently renewed.
How A lot Does It Price to Get an Iqama Visa?
The annual cost to issue or renew an Iqama visa is 650 Saudi Arabian Riyals (SAR). Underneath Saudi legislation, the employer is chargeable for all charges related to a overseas worker’s work allow and Iqama. The employer should additionally pay repatriation charges if the worker ceases employment.
Iqama Tax in Saudi Arabia
Along with the annual Iqama value, there’s a month-to-month expat levy, or Maktab Amal charge, for acquiring a piece allow. The month-to-month charge for securing a piece allow is SAR 800, and the employer is answerable for paying the charge.
International staff with dependent members of the family on their Iqama should pay a dependent charge of SAR 400 per thirty days per dependent. Saudi legislation doesn’t point out whether or not the sponsor or overseas worker should pay this charge, so it’s as much as the employer to determine if they may cowl the associated fee.
Moreover, the sponsoring employer could also be liable to pay a nice if their worker’s Iqama is misplaced or expires earlier than renewal.
Challenges of Acquiring an Iqama Residence Visa in Saudi Arabia
Employers could encounter the next challenges when acquiring an Iqama Saudi Arabia visa.
Iqama and Work Visa Software Is Advanced
Acquiring an Iqama visa and a piece allow for a overseas worker is time-consuming and requires in depth documentation. Employers should provoke the appliance and submit all mandatory paperwork. This course of can generally take a number of months to finish.
The employer may additionally must show that no Saudi residents can be found to fill the place, as required beneath the Saudi Ministry of Labor’s Saudization coverage to prioritize using Saudi residents the place doable.
Noncompliance Has Extreme Penalties
Employers and their overseas staff should adjust to Saudi employment legal guidelines and immigration rules. If an organization employs overseas expertise with out the right work permits and Iqama visas, it might face extreme fines, and the KSA authorities could revoke its license to commerce. International staff working with out an Iqama may additionally face heavy fines, arrest, and deportation.
Native Sponsorship Requires Entity Institution
A non-Saudi nationwide requires sponsorship from an area employer to safe the required work allow and Iqama to work and keep within the nation. Nonetheless, native sponsorship requires entity establishment, which is expensive and time-consuming for firms that don’t have a authorized presence within the nation.
Alternatively, employers excited about hiring talent in Saudi Arabia can simplify the method by partnering with an employer of file (EoR). An EoR acts because the authorized entity and employer of your overseas expertise so you possibly can forego the arduous strategy of entity institution.
Moreover, an EoR takes on employer obligations equivalent to onboarding, payroll, visa administration, and compliance with native employment and immigration legal guidelines, when you personal administration duties like compensation, place duties, initiatives, and efficiency administration.
Be taught extra: What Is an Employer of Record?
Rent and Relocate Expertise in Saudi Arabia With Ease
The immigration and work authorization course of in Saudi Arabia is time-consuming and complicated. Firms excited about hiring overseas expertise or relocating staff to Saudi Arabia can simplify the method with a full-service immigration accomplice like Velocity World at their facet.
Our built-in Global Immigration solution simplifies visa acquisition whereas making certain compliance in Saudi Arabia and past. As a part of our World Employer of Document (EoR) answer, we assist firms rapidly and compliantly rent, pay, relocate, and assist expertise worldwide—no entity institution required.
Contact Velocity Global as we speak to learn the way we might help simplify international hiring and immigration in Saudi Arabia and 185+ international locations.