Permanent residency for expats, a welcome move

Permanent residency for expats, a welcome move

Deputy Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman
Deputy Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman


Shams Ahsan

JEDDAH — Expatriates have overwhelmingly welcomed the announcement by Deputy Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman, second deputy premier and minister of defense, that Saudi Arabia was planning to give permanent residency to foreign workers similar to the US Green Card system.

“The Green Card-like program and a plan to allow employers to hire more foreign workers above their official quotas for a fee could generate $10 billion a year each,” the deputy crown prince told Bloomberg in an exclusive interview.

Non-Oil Revenue BoostNidal Ridwan, chairman of the Federation of Labor Committees in the Kingdom, told Okaz/Saudi Gazette that he expected the formation of an independent authority to implement the new system.

He said the new authority under the Cabinet would supervise implementation of the system. It will have representatives from the ministries of economy and planning, interior, labor, commerce and industry, and finance, as well as Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency, Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority and General Organization for Social Insurance.

“The new system will bring a lot of economic and social benefits. Non-Saudis will pay what the Saudis pay including Zakat, value added tax and insurance premiums. They will be allowed to own real estate and run trade, industry and service firms,” said Ridwan.

“If it is implemented, I will be the first to apply,” said Dr. M.S. Karimuddin, a long-time resident of Jeddah.

“It’s excellent news for expatriates. This will give confidence to them that they belong to this country,” said Karimuddin, a well-known pediatrician and a recipient of India’s Pravasi Bharatiya Samman (Indian Diaspora Award).

“Already we are very satisfied with everything here. But this initiative will give excellent opportunity to expatriates to serve more,” he said. Similar views were expressed by Inayat Ramjean, a Mauritian national who works as Business Development Manager for Hilton Group of hotels.

“The Deputy Crown Prince is a man of great vision. And this move is part of his vision to integrate expatriates to make them part of the Kingdom and utilize their expertise for the development of the Kingdom. This gesture will motivate expatriates to work even harder and contribute in the welfare of the Kingdom,” he said.

“It is a positive move and a visionary initiative,” said Zulqarnain Ali Khan, a Pakistani national who is chairman and CEO of Zultec Group. He said that the benefit will be more than $10 billion a year. It will be much larger as expatriates will come and open their businesses here. It will also help build local skills and develop human resources, Khan added.

The planned move is part of an ambitious package of reforms to move away from oil based revenue to raise at least an extra $100 billion a year by 2020. The planned Green Card system could generate $10 billion, and another $10 billion is expected to be generated from the fees imposed to exceed foreign worker quotas.

US Green Card is a lawful permanent residency which allows a person to live and work there. The United States Permanent Resident Card is informally called a green card because “it was green from 1946 until 1964 and on May 11, 2010 it was reverted to the color green.”


  1. Deputy Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman, second deputy premier and minister of defense has accepted that expat workforce in KSA is the major drive to run the Saudi economy..
    where as MOI, and MOL have been treating expats as possible runaway, child killer, thief, liar, tassatur remittances ( as if they steal from KSA) sender to home countries, instead of solving the problems. MOL imposes every punishment on the expats, and or else MOL or labor office will trick or force expats to sign for MOI to punish those expats as illegal worker, over stayer, etc even every fault was done by the private business sponsors and visa sellers.
    when it comes to expats and foreigners, MOL and MOI think of nothing but nationalization, saudization, crimes and terrorism (even majority of terror related activities were not done by expats).

  2. Subhanallah, I was doing the math on this type of a tax last week. But didn’t know who or how to present the plan I developed. This is a great mission and will definitely help the Kingdom and increase the appeal globally. We love it here, the only thing that brings sadness is to not be able to call KSA home. In shaa Allah this is implemented.

  3. Alhamdulillah, what a good strategy for expatriates otherwise majority of expats had decided to leave from Saudi Arabia & invest in those countries where they will have peace of mind & security for their investments.

    Great planning by the Deputy Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman in favor of expats’ rights.
    May Allah give him long age & good health as he is trying to bring a good thing for all.

  4. Let’s pray that this happens sooner rather than later. It will be a dream come true for my family and me after giving 15 years of my life to this beautiful country. Five of my 6 children were born here and they deem this country as home, it is all they know and I class them not as British Pakistanis but rather as Saudi Brits.

    May Allah protect this country and its rulers.

  5. Well I have been waiting for this moment since birth. Happy to hear it hope it is finialized soon.

  6. Mashallah v grt news allah SubhanAtala give long live to king n his sons Amin v all r v happy , because this is our real house v have spend whole life in this grt n beautiful n peaceful country

  7. This bold move by the Deputy Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman is very welcomed by all the expats. It is in the best interest of both the parties: “The Saudi Government” and “The Expatriates”. Both will be benefited financially and economically. More investment will be made here in every field and more jobs will be created. Both Saudis and expats will be recruited and benefited. Rich experiences will be shared and gained. Saudi Arabia will also be called the land of opportunities like USA and Europe.

    I wish Deputy Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman of Saudi Arabia all the best with his this broad vision of prosperity for Saudi Arabia and the Expats as well.

  8. Alhamdhulillhah,
    Glad to here this good news. I would like to work in Saudi, I have been working in the field of Education more than 22 years. How does the Green Card will work and what is the procedure to go Saudi Arabia to work?

  9. I can finally say goodbye to the dark clouds of “iqama renewal” over my already established home for the last 20 years.

  10. Drastic drop in remittances and capital flight to Kingdom are the first benefits to KSA, besides others. Collection of taxes and other benefits to follow. Question for expats will be; are the policies credible and consistent to go ahead with long term investment plan here?? A better competitive working and business environment that will bring immense benefits to the society in the long run given that watchdogs do their job.

  11. May ALLAH SWT bless and give more strength to Deputy Crown Prince MUHAMMAD BIN SALMAN (Hafidahullah) to stand against evil-doers in each and every corners of the divine territory and its border. His vision is far sighted and has been waiting for since long time. As an expatriate, we must always thankful, loyal and gratitude to this country, its leaders, ulemas and citizens.

  12. It is really great news. As I understand that if any expat having KSA Green card, they will have to pay Govt bodies similar to Saudis. for example like Gosi 22%? if yes. how it will impact Nitaqat system. Will they be considered some % of Saudi National?

  13. Really its very good news for expats,Insha Allah this great decision will make help to the kingdom of Saudi Arabia,May Allah bless of All who involve in this such great programmed.
    many people planed to leave the kingdom and invest the capital where they will have their bright future.
    May Allah give long life and good health to the Deputy Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman.

  14. If it has been done before, till know how much amount of economy might be boosted of ksa. Govt happy and expats happy…

  15. Great Initiative and good work done ! I shall be the first one to apply for permanent residency if it is implemented. Now I can buy a home here and call KSA my home also, no need to plan what will I do after leaving KSA one day. Looking forward…

  16. It is a good move Mashaallah. It is appreciated if it would be implemented as soon as possible.

  17. Alhamdulillah, what a excellent opportunity for expatriates, protection for their investments & families. this is like our own country, we can bye land/home for lavish life same like citizens with our family.
    Great planning by the Deputy Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman in favor of expats’ rights.
    May Allah give him & his entire siblings Healthy & Wealthy Life. Along with Protect from any harm to kingdom & Residents. Allah Bless Us.
    With kind Regards:
    S. A. Rizvi (Jeddah)

  18. Alhamdulillah. May Allah continue to bless this nation. To confess, I am more than happy. This great news already changed my plan to relocate back to my country (Nigeria) soon. What a great visionary leader. I belief this is the beginning of super greatness for this great country. May Allah protect Islam and the leaders of this Nation.

  19. May Allah give him & his entire siblings Healthy & Wealthy Life. Along with Protect from any harm to kingdom & Residents. Allah Bless Us.
    With kind Regards:

  20. It sounds good move. However, objective behind this is to collect taxes which is ok too as long the equal rights and opportunities without discrimination in specific areas such as housing and services.For example, this right applies to:

    hospitals and health services
    schools, universities and colleges
    public places, amenities and utilities such as recreation centers, malls and parks
    services and programs provided by municipal, including social assistance and benefits, and public transit..

  21. We sincerely believe that it should happen in this great country where there are enormous necessity of foreigners to work for and build the national directly or indirectly.

    There are lot of foreigners are living here for decades and they should be given chance to stay along with their families giving opportunity to study in the universities. In turn, they will work side by side with the locals to give their best for the Kingdom.

    I must say that this is a great initiative and let us hope for the best!

  22. A good start to come out from the oil crisis. But what will be the legal rights are being given to exparts. Will it be differ from locals or same ?

  23. It is a good move Mashaallah. Insha Allah good business will come to saudi arabia due to Makkah and Madeenah. People will move to transfer their business from other countries to saudi Arabia. Insha Allah.

  24. also recognise the children of non-saudi fathers.

    and where can I apply for citizenship inshaaAllah?

  25. Great & Awesome-
    Its really a great and smart move in this era of economy, It will bring more prosperity and lots of wealth in Saudi Arabia Inshallah. Foreigners have been working hard to play a vital role for the development in Saudi Arabia, Many of them have scarified their life’s too. They really deserve to live here permanently….
    But before foreigners there is utmost right for Poor Saudi Women who belong this land, foreign husbands & kids really deserve to have Saudi nationalities same like Saudi men,s foreign wife’s and kids having nationalities.
    If foreigners who came to this land from thousands miles away, and looking to have permanent residence and rights to buy land, & run trade which is great. We humbly request to visionary Govt to mercy on Poor Saudi Women to allow them transfer their nationalizes to their kids and Husbands. It will be a great relief and mercy on Saudi women…
    May Allah Mercy on Saudi Arabia and this Visionary Govt, Ameeen.

  26. Alhamdulillah mashaallah it should apply as soon as early we are praying for long life of Crown Prince with good health

  27. Dear respected Sir,
    Asalam o Alaikum
    I salute all of you
    This is such a great decision and news for me and also for my children.

    I am working right here in Saudi from last 37 years in Schlumberger. It’s been ages I was desperately waiting for this thing. I came here in 1400 hijri. I have 5 Children and four of them born here.
    Even my children are happy after knowing this news.
    One of my sons studies in UK. he called me immediately after getting this news. He is representing Saudia in UK. He does not know anything about Pakistan.
    I and my Family is looking forward to it. I hope we will get some rocking news soon.

  28. Long live King Salman and his ministers. I have been in this country for the last 42 years and never thought of leaving this country because I consider Saudi Arabia as my home country. There is no other country in this world like Saudi Arabia where we can get Deen and Dunya together. Long live Saudi Arabia.

  29. At last, Alhamdullah… hoping to hear the news of implementation soon.
    Missing Saudi Arab.. 🙁 my childhood 🙁
    I wanna go back. Inshallah.

  30. Masha Allah great opportunity to foreign workers. Warmly welcome this plan. MY Allah bless us all.

  31. Great news – lot of thanks.
    Really it’s very good vision for all of us; God bless us all جزاك الله خيراً

  32. This will be good move for the Kingdom.This should not be misused by miscreants. Authority should be careful.
    Thank you all.

  33. Nice vision. Saudi Arabia Has found one more great leader. The future belongs to Saudis.
    Born with the leadership quality.
    May Allah bless you all Saudis & your leaders.
    I really hope that some day we even will get some leaders like them in our country.

  34. good decision but when is it going to start?
    how many year an expatriate will take to earn green card?
    this will be onky a green card or will give equal rights of Saudi citizenship?
    card only or passport as well?

  35. this is a great move. make the kingdom to the forefront of developed western nations. national perspective will be boosted much. thus outward oriented, broad minded developed nation is in offing

  36. It’s an encouraging news for all the expats who believe that Saudi Arabia is the best country in all the expects. Hoping the implementation soon.

  37. MashAllah great ideology . Your leadership quality is very impressive MashAllah .may Allah bless you a lot and your family .
    We really love this country KSA.

  38. Quick implementation of this visionary plan would give huge benefits to the Kingdom and people of Saudi Arabia, as the oil may loose the value because of renewable electric and solar energy that is fast coming up in the next few years.

    This is the time for Saudi Arabia to act fast on this program.

  39. Very good news. I am living here now more than 35 years and always felt Saudi Arab as my home country. Thanks to the Royal Family and thanks to King and the deputy crown prince. Jazakallah o khairan

    • Congratulations!!! All good things comes after patience, this is one of the top move to boost Saudi Economy on long term basis.

  40. I disagree with this move , because they will impose expats with heavy taxation and who cares about green card anyway, expats work and leave ksa…

  41. A great step…it is not late….
    As an engineer I am planning for UK side.
    But now I will not go from here…..
    HRH Mohmmad Bin Salman is brave leader.

  42. It seems to be a great move towards improving not only the economy and revenue of the country but a great relief for the expats. Now my question is what about those expats who worked in Saudi Arabia for 40 years but left perforce and settled in other countries unwillingly. They still want to come back to live a peaceful life in Saudi Arabia. Will they also be considered to resettle in Saudia and start some business or live there as retirees.

  43. This is a great proposal, But this is not the first time I read and heard about it. It was also been published Six(6 ) Years ago, granting Saudi Citizenship to expats particularly to those who met certain requirements.
    My friends hoping that this will be materialized by this time.

  44. Dear Brothers
    Thanks to The King & Government of SAUDI ARABIA ,
    I am an Indian working as a Quality Engineer since 20+ years in Saudi Arabia,Before my death if i will get GREEN Card i will be more and more Happy, i want to see my Green Card before i die , All are requested to Pray for me,

    Thanks & Regards
    Sheikh Mohammed Yusuf

  45. At is a good thinking (Green Card) yes what about those who served half of their lives in Saudia , will be they and their children be eligible for this Green Card ? Regards

  46. May God bless his Highness Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman and this law of Permanent Residency should be given to Expats in all other Gulf regions – KUWAIT, BAHRAIN, UAE, QATAR, OMAN.

  47. Congratulations.Alhamdulillah. May Allah continue to bless this nation. I belief this is the beginning of super greatness for this great country. May Allah protect Islam and the leaders of this Nation.
    Insha Allah After implementation this rule the power of Saudi Arabia will boost up suddenly in every field. I think lot of Muslim who was living from long life here or birth here are thinking when this rule will implement they will shift all their major resources like bank account or property here from their home country .Me too .

  48. It is a GOOD NEWS for those who intend to settle and work in the KSA. In such case all Expats will be tension free and can add more sincere effort to work; thus KSA will progress faster than other countries.
    Many thanks to the Govt. of the KSA for taking such bold step and I believe that soon such effort will be taken by other GCC countries for mutual benefits of the Govt. and Expats. This initiative will not only earn more money to Govt. of the KSA; but also KSA Nationals will gain excellent knowledge and training from the Expats who are professionally qualified with decade of experience.

    • Congratulations of All!!!
      Mohd.Irshad – Mumbai – UAE.
      This is a great Decision/proposal. And really a great vision. I am very happy for this step and I have no words, I cannot explain how much I am happy.
      For brave decision by Highness Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman. Actually he is a brave Crown Prince. God give him strength and long life.
      I hope this rule will be implementing as soon as possible because looking positive approach from Crown Prince.

      With lots of thanks !!!

      Note: Keep patience, believe on the God everything is possible.
      Hoping the implementation soon.

      Best Regards

  49. I like New Saudi Government style, working like an engine for all Ummah, common Muslims Love Saudi Arabia & common Muslim always follow Saudi Arabia, Last Three four years Saudi Arabia taking very good decisions & and trying to bring all Muslims in one platform,, Thanks & jazak Allah khair

  50. The decision taken by the Saudi Government is appreciable but there are several set backs. From a common man point of view, what a person thinks before he invests in any sector. Whether the place where he is going to invest is a safe haven? Will it yield fruitful results? Will it safeguard his fundamental rights? The Government wants to earn $100 billion by 2020 by various means in which Government is expecting a vital role from expats. One side, the Government is announcing that all mobile shops, small supermarkets should be owned by Saudi people as such, HR and Recruitment jobs. Due to these decisions, the expats are in a distressed stage. Instead of imposing such regulations, in my opinion, if the Government abolishes the SPONSOR system in every business and allowing the tradesmen to get licenses directly from KSA Government subject to the condition of payment of certain amount periodically (irrespective of quantum of business because small shops can’t maintain proper accounts), providing a considerable % jobs to Saudi People vice versa the Government should support such tradesmen with VISAs without any restraints. It requires the Government has to conduct a feasible study to that effect. In Qatar, there is only QAR 10/- is charged for EXIT PERMIT whereas in SAUDI it is SAR 200/- for EXIT and REENTRY which is a burden some problem to some sectors. My request, the KSA Government should take into account the rosy conditions prevailing in abutting QATAR, UAE, BAHRAIN and OMAN countries. The Government can introduce ENTERTAINMENT TAX by allowing multiplex movie theaters along with FOOD COURTS because people spend money on entertainment. Already people are watching online movies, TVs sitting at home. So allowing movie theaters is not a WRONG decision. Government wants the expatriates to invest in REAL ESTATE. When there are no JOBS for EXPATS and Government is announcing lot of jobs for local, how is it possible for EXPATS to invest in that sector. when there is no people in country to stay who will buy and if so, to whom they rent. So, the GOVERNMENT has to take into account all these things. Then only it is possible to achieve the target by 2020. – AS A COMMON MAN THESE ARE ONLY MY PERSONAL OPINIONS TO SUPPORT THE GOVERNMENT’ DECISION

  51. Masha Allah! Very good news and We are very Happy. Excellent move. Many thanks to the Govt. and May Allah swt will shower Barakkath to KSA Rulers.. Jazaakallah khairan……

  52. Alhamdu Lillah really this is very nice opportunity we also like that and we hope it will come as soon as possible. Jazakalla khair

  53. Mashallah!!Its really a very great move for KSA to boost the non oil economy sector where it can build the confidence of expatriates to invest in KSA,
    All the best ….

  54. MA Sha Allah it’s great idea because the workers will have more humen rights and we will feel comfortable to invest here.

  55. 2. This bold move by the Deputy Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman is very welcomed by all the expats. May Allah fulfill this plan and program Ameen. We sincerely believe that it should happen in this great country

  56. Dear Sir,

    To day I read all the comments and I feel the same way, feeling happy and great as a Filipina worked in different sector for almost 14 years of my stay with my son/daugther. me and my children hoping for a long time that someday they will be a green card for all of us who live here in a more than a decade. Hope everything is in Allah/God’s will to implement as expat who live in Saudi for almost 14years and my husband for 20 years.

  57. MashAllah !
    Great vision and an excellent move, indeed a very wonderful News for us as being expatriate, born and living here from decades. Many thanks & may Allah swt will shower Barakkath/blessings to the honorable, his Excellency ‘King Salman’ , ‘Deputy Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman’, Ministers and Royal families, Long live KSA rulers Ameen ! InshAllah once implemented this would allow almost all of expats the opportunity to invest in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia rather than building properties in their home countries.
    Looking forward to hear the implementation News soon InshAllah !

  58. Masha Allah great step taken by Saudi government hats off to King Salman
    Please let me know when & how to apply for green card (citizenship) of Saudi Arabia.

    Thank you
    JazakAllah khair

  59. i think saudi will give citizenship only if some one show up 5 million USD in accounts. How many will be there to take it? only few

  60. I need a room in Madina to pass rest of my life in peace. I dream of it. I want to lease a room for 30 years in Madina. I want to know whether it is possible or not in proposed Green Card System.

    May Allah bless Saudi Royal Family

  61. My advice to those who are happy to be cautious. This is a plan to stop the outflow of the foreign remittances. about which Saudis have been concerned for a very long time. What about the SAUDIZATION program? They will never treat you as equals..almost on a daily basis we read about threats from expats and about unqualified expats depriving qualified Saudis of jobs which are rightfully theirs. To me this is a master move to keep the money within the country with dwindling oil prices. The Green Card holders will also have to pay taxes.

  62. This program should not be a conflict to the saudization drive. To implement saudization those green card holders should not be crushed.

  63. I salute Mohammad Bin Salman on this great decision I wish I get Green Card so I will buy my house here and live permanent in this country.

  64. Iqama is a green card in KSA, if the goverment becomes kafeel of expats it will genrate more the 10b because many saudies take over the business of expats, if the goverment becomes kafeel of expats the revenue will be much greater then budgeted…

  65. i think it is great opportunity for us . if the start ads soon as possible it very helpfull to increase the economical growth of saudi arabia. many kind of sector stay in saudi that is even not start if we got the opportunity after that we will serve that kind of sector . kSA not only import but also export many raw materials . KSA invest on APPLE & others famous org in USA. if we can do innovative idea implement in KSA then KSA will invest in our innovative idea task. then KSA not only depend on made in CHINA,USA,JAPAN But also others country will depend on KAS … insaallah

  66. People especially from less developed or developing countries like to live in Developed and Rich countries. Around 100 years ago Saudi Nationality was almost open but very few migrated mostly with love towards Holy Cities.

  67. Very good news for expatriates. They will have freedom to do business in saudi arabia and they will feel like home country. It will help to raise the revinew of country.
    May allah help to implement this aim.

  68. Its great news alhmudallah but how much is the fees thats the problem i guess, dos anyone know?

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