A recent story had been broken on the proposed new Saudi Green Card system. However, there were no actual details that had been provided to anybody. Something which was very clear though was that there were millions of expatriates living in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, who would be very happy with this announcement. The proposed Saudi Green Card system would allow the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to generate a whopping 10 billion USD annually. A recent report by a local news publication in the Kingdom had reported that the chairman of the Federation of Labor Committees in the Kingdom, Nidal Ridwan had stated that he expects that an autonomous body will be formed in order to implement the new system of the Saudi Green Cards. Saudi Green card is expected to be launched by 2021 (within next 5 years) as per the statement made by the Deputy Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Prince Mohammad Bin Salman Al Saud.
According to Al-Hayat newspaper, the Green Card system will cost expatriates SR 14,200 per annum. We are still not sure if it will be the cost for the full family or just for the head of the family. But we believe that this fee will be taken in replacement of Iqama fee which will be around SR 10,200 by July 2020. Once the card has been issued, it would then be integrated with Jawazat and the Labor office. Currently, the foreigners are only allowed to come into the Kingdom via a sponsorship or through SAGIA. This new system would allow the expatriates to become their own sponsors. The system of Kafala which is currently in place in the Kingdom seems to not be working as it should. Under this Kafala system, any migrant or expatriate worker’s status is bound to one sponsor or individual for whatever time is stated in the contract.
According to the opinion of different immigration experts operating in Saudi Arabia, under the new Green Card System, the expatriates will enjoy the following benefits;
1-They would be allowed to buy property in Saudi Arabia
2-The Kafala System will come to an end and expatriates would now become their own sponsor
3-The worker would get permanent residency in Saudi Arabia. He will not have to worry about the expiry of his iqama. Saudi green card will only be given to foreign investors and scientifically skilled experts among expats, according to a top Shoura Council official. Arab News
4-All expatriates can engage in any and all business in the Kingdom without having a local or Saudi partner.
5-The worker will get to enjoy free medical treatment just like the locals or Saudi nationals.
6-If the resident expatriate pays the GOSI, they will receive a pension upon their retirement.
7-The expatriates would now be able to apply for any loans which had been limited to only nationals in the past.
WHAT YOU STILL CANNOT DO UNDER THE NEW SYSTEM
Though there are several benefits and advantages of the new system, there are still some things which you will not be allowed to do;
1-Green Card holding expatriates would not be able to vote in elections
2-They would not be able to hold any public office in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
3-They would not be able to remain outside of the KSA for a long period of time.
4-They would not be allowed to enlist into the Saudi Armed Forces