Saudi Reduces Expat Visa to One Year

Saudi Arabia has reduced the visa period for expatriate workers from two years to one year in a bid to align visa duration with health insurance coverage.

The reduction in visa period was introduced last Saturday and will affect all of the estimated 7 million foreign workers throughout Saudi Arabia.

The news was reported in Saudi Arabian newspaper The Almadina: “The decision affects all professions and is intended to bring the visa period in line with the period of health insurance, which is one year,” the Arabic language daily said.

According to The Almadina the decision was made shortly after a new law was implemented that made it compulsory for all private sector firms to ensure that any foreign workers they employed were covered by adequate health insurance.

The news of the visa reduction came on the same day that Philips Healthcare in Saudi Arabia announced that they anticipated that the area would need over 7000 medical professionals, the majority of whom will be recruited from overseas, to meet the growing healthcare needs of the Saudi population.

Speaking to Arabian Business Diederik Zeven, Phillips Healthcare general manager for the Middle East, said: “Saudi Arabia will need another 7000 doctors and nurses over the next five to ten years to address the needs of its population and work across the existing and new facilities.”

“They are investing heavily in education, building university teaching hospitals and so on, but there is no doubt they’ll still be dependent on expat assistance coming from all over the region.”

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