Pros and Cons of Working on Iqama v/s Business Visa in Saudi Arabia

An expatriate can work in Saudi Arabia on Iqama as well as on Business Visa. Business Visa is normally issued when an expatriate comes to work for a short span of time. Generally, a business visa is issued for one month which is extendable two times by one month. However, business visit visa of different tenure can also be issued upon the request of the company. Iqama is issued when a person enters to Saudi Arabia for employment. The procedure for issuing Iqama is entirely different from Business Visit Visa. Many people have been asking me on this blog to compare the advantages and disadvantages of working on a business visit visa and residence permit. Finally, I have decided to compare both of them in this article. There are some problems which a person coming on a business visit visa may have to face.

Problems of Working on Business Visa

Tax on income in KSA – a person coming on a business visit visa is a non-resident for Saudi Arabia. As per Saudi Tax Law, every company must deduct tax at a rate of 20% from the remuneration paid to non-resident persons.

Tax on income in Native country – a person coming on a business visit visa in Saudi Arabia is a resident in his own country. Tax laws in most of the countries impose taxes upon the income of the resident person earned out of the country. As a result of this, he will have to pay double tax. Although tax credit is available in most of the countries but still the higher tax rate will apply.

No Family Visa – if a person comes to work on a business visit visa to Saudi Arabia, he can bring his family to Saudi Arabia neither on family visit visa nor on a permanent family visa.

No Bank Account – Only a Saudi resident (Iqama Holder) can open a bank account in Saudi Arabia. If a person is working in business visit visa, he will have to receive his salary either in cash or transfer it to a bank account in his own country. First is risky and second is complicated.

No Iqama itself – in Saudi Arabia you need Iqama to do anything except breathing. The Even hospital will not admit you unless you show your valid iqama to them. A person working on business visit visa will not be able to enjoy the benefits of Iqama itself.

Traveling in Saudi Arabia – A person working on a business visit visa will only be allowed to travel in the areas where he is supposed to go for his work. He is not allowed to travel to the areas which are not related to his work. This is not the case with Iqama holders. Iqama holder can travel to any part of Saudi Arabia.

No Employment Rights – Employment rights are only available to the people holding Iqama. A person coming on a business visit visa does not have any employment right. The situation becomes more critical if that person has contracted with the company in Saudi Arabia in an individual capacity. If Saudi company does not pay him, he would not be able to do anything.

No Restriction of Kafeel – along with problems, there are some benefits of working on business visit visa as well. There is no restriction of Kafeel. You must know that permission of Kafeel is required to do anything in Saudi Arabia. It has been explained in this article “Kafeel System in Saudi Arabia”. However, a person who is working on business visit visa does not have to take that pain. He can take a flight with his will and go out of KSA.

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