Expats throughout Saudi Arabia have welcomed the news that the government is to make significant changes to their permanent residency requirements.
A government decision to issue permanent resident visas based on an individual’s financial status as opposed to their profession has been welcomed by millions of expatriates living in Saudi Arabia. Permanent family visas, which had previously only been issued to engineers, doctors and executives, will now by made available to individuals whose financial status passes a certain threshold.
The news has been welcomed by a large number of workers who are now looking to attain residency for their spouses and children. Under the previous rules many expats were unable to bring their families to Saudi Arabia as a result of the profession written on their iqama (identity cards). Now, however, family visas will be authorized on the basis of an individual’s income.
Arabic daily, Al-Yaum reported the case of one expatriate, Sh abeer Ali, who was quoted as saying, “This is a great news for thousands of professionals like me who are unable to bring their wives and children to the kingdom because of the profession in iqama.”
“Until now I could not, because they look at the profession on my iqama, which is an electrician. I had presented my Masters degree certificate in computer science attested by the Saudi Embassy, as well as my salary certificate, but they rejected my application,” he said.
“I know that there are thousands of expatriate workers who are highly qualified and earn good salaries but cannot bring their families because of their profession,” he added.