Kingdom of Saudi Arabia saw an eventful job market in 2013 with the tourism sector creating nearly 7.51 Lac new jobs, of which only about 27 per cent were focused on the Saudi population, leaving ample job opportunities for expats in Saudi Arabia. The Gulf Business recently reported the Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities President, Prince Sultan bin Salman saying that the tourism sector is expected to create about 1.7 million jobs in Saudi Arabia by the year 2020. This has raised the hopes of several job seekers, both Saudis and expats alike.
Let us take a look at the requirements to obtain Work Visa in Saudi Arabia.
Working in Saudi Arabia
Those who wish to work in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia need to obtain work permit in order to do so. Usually, it is the duty of the sponsor or employer to arrange the Employment Visa that remains valid for up to 90 days, with the lower limit of 14 days. This visa allows the employee to enter into Saudi Arabia and eventually apply for the Iqama or Residence Permit.
Alternatively, an employee can seek entry on a Temporary Work Visa, a Business Visa, a Seasonal Employment Visa or even a Group Employment Visa.
How to Apply for Employment Visa
As per the Embassy of Saudi Arabia, here is a list of documents required when applying for an Employment Visa for Saudi Arabia:
- Your original passport that must be valid for the duration equivalent to the employment contract. It must also have at least two consecutive blank pages
- Three colored passport-size photographs
- The completely filled-out application form. This should be provided by the employer or the consulate/ embassy of Saudi Arabia in the home land
- A copy of your employment contract signed by you and your employer (sponsor)
- A letter from the sponsor, certified by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Saudi Chamber of Commerce. This letter must include the date and number of the visa, applicant name and his/her job title
- A copy of your diploma or degree received by the foreign employee, notarized by the concerned organization in the country of residence and also the consulate/ embassy of Saudi Arabia in the home country
- Medical report copies along with three passport-size photographs declaring that the applicant is free from any contagious diseases or HIV virus.
- A police report declaring any criminal records of the applicant. This report must be issued within 6 months of application
- A reference note from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Saudi Arabia stating the number of the Employment Visa and its date of issue
- The application fee to be paid by the employer
Different Types of Visa
· Business Visa
The Business Visa will allow a foreign national to come to Saudi Arabia and conduct only a part of their business with a client or sponsor in the country. For instance, if you wish to hold business meetings or discuss contracts you will need to seek business visa. This visa is also used for short-term contracts for medical, consultancy, technical or for training purposes. However, a business visa will not give you the right to live in Saudi Arabia or extend work more than the restricted time and conditions of your short-term contract.
The application for this type of visa normally requires an invitation letter from a company or a Saudi resident acting as the sponsor. This must be addressed to the local Saudi embassy and should give specific details of the services to be provided by the applicant. Chief Executive Officers, Chairmen, Vice-Presidents and Presidents of select established companies are, however, exempt from this rule.
· Temporary Work Visa
The Temporary Work Visa allows a person to carry out temporary work for their clients in Saudi Arabia, for up to 30 or maximum 90 days. The procedure to secure this type of Work Visa is quite similar to the procedure of applying for an Employment Visa.
· Group Employment Visa
The Group Employment Visa is also called the â€˜block visa'. It will allow a Saudi recruiter to issue multiple visas at a single time without identifying the prospective employees. When the visa application is approved, the given number of visas is issued and the necessary documents are then passed on to the concerned Saudi embassies.
· Seasonal Employment Visa
This type of visa is specially intended for those who wish to come to the country for work during the Islamic season of Hajj pilgrimage and related activities. To receive this visa the sponsor in Saudi has to apply to the Ministry of Labor. Once approved, the prospective employee is required to submit the following to the Saudi embassy - the employment contract and an attested document stating that the worker is arriving for work and not for Hajj.
The required documents can be submitted to the Saudi Arabian embassy or one can go through the agency that has been nominated by the sponsor or employer. However, before you apply to work in Saudi Arabia, note that a recent news report by Live Mint states that Saudi Arabia may restrict expat workers to stay on in the country for only up to eight years. The move is aimed at creating more jobs for the Saudis.