Saudi to only issue one-year work visas to foreigners

The Saudi Arabian Ministry of Labor has announced that they will reduce the duration of work visas issued to foreign employees in the private sector.

Foreign employees will be issued work visas with the utilization period of one year, as opposed to two years previously.

Exempt from the new changes are domestic workers and foreigners working at government agencies, who will still be granted two year visas.

It is still uncertain whether the cost for visa issuance and renewal will remain or be halved.

“The minister’s decision is consistent with article 11 of the Labour Code, which stipulates that the minister may take measures that will ensure the improvement of the performance of the labour market,” the ministry said.

The decision comes ahead of the work permit fee increase, due to come into effect in 2018.

Since 2012, the Kingdom has charged SAR200 a month per foreign worker at private sector companies, that exceed the number of Saudis. This fee is due to increase to SAR300-400 per foreign working by 2018 and SAR700-800 by 2020.

The Kingdom has been working to decrease the unemployment of Saudi nationals by restricting certain positions for Saudi nationals.

Reports last month suggested the ministry had suspended visa renewals for expats in jobs that would, in the future, be reserved for Saudi nationals, such as, human resources and as clerks in receptions, hotels and hospitals.

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