Expats in private sector firms in Saudi Arabia can now get Work Visas with a validity of 2 years. Work Visas in Saudi Arabia, currently, have a validity of 12 months. The extension of Visa validity would also be applicable to old visas. The additional time limit would bear no extra cost. The announcement was made by the Saudi Ministry of Labour and Social Development.
Khalid Abalkhail, the Ministry spokesperson, said that the new Visa reform was limited to regular Work Visas only. Housekeeping Visas were not applicable for an extension.
The Ministry also said that companies in Saudi Arabia could cancel old Work Visas and issue new ones with extended validity. This would be possible provided the visa requirements remained the same.
In 2017, the Saudi Govt. announced that it would be reducing the validity of Work Visas to one year. However, domestic workers and expats at government agencies were exempted. They continued to receive 2-year visas.
The new visa reform has been introduced by the Ministry with a view to helping the private sector firms. The extended visas can help fill the needs of the private sector companies in Saudi Arabia.
There were several visa reforms introduced by Saudi Arabia in a bid to reduce unemployment among Saudi nationals. Since November 2012, private sector companies who employed more expats than Saudi nationals had to pay SAR 200 for each foreign worker per month. In 2018, the fee was increased to SAR 300-400 and may further increase to SAR 700-800 by 2020, as per International Investment.
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