The fast-growing economy of Saudi Arabia creates a range of job opportunities for ex-pats. Job searching, however, is a challenging task for foreigners. It is now more challenging to introduce the ‘Saudization‘ plan.
This plan provides young adults (Saudi nationals only) with the exposure they need for their work lives. Moreover, firms would have to pay fines if they employ more foreign workers than local workers.
Therefore, it is highly likely, that job vacancies for ex-pats in Saudi Arabia will reduce significantly in the future.
Searching for vacancies in multinational firms based in Saudi Arabia might be your best option. However, you can easily find jobs in Saudi firms too. This is possible with the correct knowledge required before starting your job hunt.
Perks of Working in Saudi Arabia
- Saudi Arabia’s industrial solid sector guarantees a high paying job. The oil reserves there contributes to about 50% of Saudi Arabia’s GDP.
- Diversification means that there are jobs available for expats with various skills and education. This article mentions some of these employment fields later.
- There is no imposition of income tax on foreigners. Therefore, expats receive a much higher net income. Compared to the salaries same jobs offer in other countries, expats working in Saudi Arabia earn a relatively handsome amount.
- You can also receive an End of Contract Bonus (ESB). This can add up to a large amount, ensuring more financial security. However, you need to complete at least two years to be eligible for ESB.
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Work Permit and Work Visa
To have a job in Saudi Arabia, you need to have a work permit. You can not secure one if you do not have a concrete job offer.
You can also receive this through your sponsor (usually your employer). Every ex-pat needs a sponsor who guarantees their work during their stay in Saudi Arabia. Your sponsor will apply for your permit on his behalf.
Similarly, your sponsor will help you through the process of getting your employment visa. To get your work visa, you would again need a job offer beforehand, along with a sponsor.
Your passport should have an expiry date of at least six months from the day you are applying to have your visa approved.
However, Saudi officers will reject your visa if your passport shows that you have been to Israel or are born there.
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Furthermore, you can not enter Saudi Arabia if you have any contagious diseases. You need to have a medical test done to get your visa approval.
This will provide the Saudi government with a confirmation that you are free from any such disease.
Working in Saudi Arabia
Industries to Look for Jobs in
- Oil and Gas industry
- Healthcare Services
- Food Processing
Moreover, some of the multinational firms based in Saudi Arabia include:
Expertise You Need to Land a Job in Saudi Arabia
It is no secret that finding jobs in Saudi Arabia can be difficult. There are, however, several jobs that the industries named above can offer you.
With the skillset in particular areas short in Saudi Arabia, you have a very high chance of getting recruited.
Tax professionals now stand a high chance of finding jobs in Saudi Arabia. This is due to the introduction of VAT in 2018.
Moreover, some of the highly-demand skills there include engineering, teaching, IT, and healthcare. Specialists in water resource management and transport infrastructure are also in high demand.
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English is also commonly used, especially in the business world. However, Arabic as it is more widely used and understood by everyone. Hence, it is better to have a basic know-how of Arabic too.
What to Expect From Your Job in Saudi Arabia?
Weekends in Saudi Arabia fall on Friday and Saturday. Therefore, it is safe for you to expect working days from Sunday to Thursday.
For every employee, it is illegal to work for beyond 8 hours per day. However, these working hours were reduced to six hours per day during Ramazan. Also, businesses tend to stop during prayer times.
According to the law, employees should receive at least 21 days per year leave days. However, the number of leave days differs as per your employer. This law applies once you complete one year of your job.
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Moreover, employees have an off on three public holidays. These holidays include
- Saudi National Day
Saudi Arabia does not recognize Christmas as a public holiday. Therefore, you should apply for leave before Christmas to take off that day.
Saudi Rules and Laws You Should Be Aware Of
- Your fingerprints are taken at the airport and cross-checked with your visa. This check ensures that there are no legal issues. They are retaken when you exit the country.
- You have to get your final exit visa when leaving Saudi Arabia permanently. You can get this visa from the Saudi Minister of Interior.
- Females who arrive at the Saudi airport have to meet their sponsor there.
- Permanent stay in Saudi Arabia through employment is rarely possible. This is because work visas are for one or two years at most. Also, most expats acquire jobs for a fixed time which depends on your work permit.
- The Saudi government works according to the Hijri calendar. There are chances that you may misinterpret the expiry date of your visa. Therefore, confirm the expiry of your work visa from the Saudi Immigration Authorities. Overstaying your visa may result in a fine of 10000 Saudi Riyals. You can even face imprisonment.
- Also, Arabs tend to avoid discussing the negatives. So you should be able to see things from different outlooks to understand the message clearly.
- All expats must have medical insurance. Your employer will usually provide you with this.
- Laws in Saudi Arabia are stringent. These also include laws against apostasy, homosexuality and adultery. Pork and alcohol are banned too.
- Public practice of any other religion except Islam is illegal in Saudi Arabia. However, you are free to practice it privately.
- Also, expat spouses need to have work visas to secure a job in Saudi Arabia. A local recruitment agency can help you out with your job search. They will also assist you in getting your work permit, after which you can have a job there.