What is the future of Expatriate doctors in Saudi Arabia?

Many doctors, who migrate to the Kingdom, have very little or no knowledge of what is in store for them. This is more so for those who come via a family visa. Doctors coming through work visas are informed of the benefits, salary and the nature of their job.

If you are a non-Arab doctor who is making their way to the Kingdom under the sponsorship of a relative must also know of the obstacles that they will have to face, especially those who have not achieved their post-graduate degree i.e. MBBS or MBChB yet.

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For the specialists and general consultants, the process and the road are much smoother as they are required in every hospital. A specialist or consultant could be fortunate enough to find a clinic or hospital which is willing to get the doctor a visa or pay for the transfer process of the existing visa.

As for the MBBS and MBChB degree holders, if they have less than 2 years of experience as a practitioner, they will have to do a 1-year internship at least from any of the government hospitals in the Kingdom. When the internship ends, every department which accepts you as an intern will provide you with a certificate.

It should be noted that any of the departments can refuse to accept your internship application for several reasons. Many times, the department already has a maximum number of internees. It is vital that you pass internal medicine, surgery, pediatrics, obstetrics, gynecology and the Emergency departments.

If possible you can also intern at a Family Medicine Department. After this is over you can apply for the Saudi License Examination. You can get the application forms and the list of required documents from the Saudi Commission for Health Specialties office which is in the Ruwais District.

If your future is to work as a general practitioner, then even passing the SLE with the highest score does not guarantee you any job in any hospital or clinic. Applications might be rejected on the fact that the hospitals are looking for Egyptian, Indian and Pakistani doctors.

This is however not due to racism at all. The hospitals do this in relation to the patients they have in the hospital. Many Indian patients for example only want to be treated by an Indian doctor.

Hospitals can also turn down your application because you do not speak the Arabic language, this is since around 80 percent of all the patients who show up at any facility do not speak or understand English.

Unless you are a highly decorated doctor or a renowned specialist, the hospital will not be willing to employ a translator to be with you always or even to appoint you a nurse who can act as a translator between the doctor and the patients. It is very important to 

It is very important to mention here that Saudi Government has been taking active steps to ensure that Saudi doctors are employed in the government hospitals. It has been announced that Health Ministry will not be hiring any expatriate doctor in Saudi Arabia. 

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