Saudi Arabia to introduce long term ‘iqama’ system

Riyadh: The Consultative or Shura Council in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has approved a unique “iqama (residence permit) programme” for foreigners who have extraordinary talents and skills.

According to news agency reports it is a new attractive scheme for the expatriates with ingenious ideas and ability to implement them.

Al, a news and views portal, said that the unique Iqama would be of two kinds—One which would be of permanent nature and the other time-bound. The time-bound or temporary iqama can be acquired by paying a predetermined fee. Under this iqama system a foreigner would get some additional facilities. The holder of this iqama would be able to carry out, among other things, business. Besides, he would have the facility to live with his family and invite close relatives for a certain period of time. He or she would also be able to get workers on permit from foreign countries and buy property. He would also be able to leave and return to Kingdom according to his wish. For this type of iqama the prospective person would have to pay a specified amount of money to the government.

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The other kind of iqama would be valid for an unspecified period of time or would be renewable. It would be given to those persons who are above the age of 21 years and should be financially sound. He should have a valid passport from his country.

The government has decided to set up a separate department for these kinds of resident permits.
When the new scheme was put to vote in the Shoura Council it received 76 votes in favour and 55 against it.

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