The Saudi Arabian Ministry of Labor announced that the TAQAT waiting period is no longer required. The announcement came as part of the 68 initiatives the Ministry of Labor (MoL) announced in late September 2018 aimed at facilitating growth in the private sector.
Previously companies would have to publish the job post on TAQAT and wait for a number of days (the number dependent on their Saudization category) to give a chance to Saudi nationals before continuing with a block visa application.
It has now been announced by the MoL that the waiting period is being removed and companies now submit a block visa request directly through the Ministry of Labour and Social Development portal with the rest of the work authorization process remaining the same. At the same time, the MoL announced a fast track visa service for companies who have a high Saudization rate to be able to obtain visas immediately.
Removing the labour market testing makes the time to receive block visa approval significantly shorter. As the work authorisation process can begin sooner, employees are expected to receive their work visas and be able to start working in a shorter amount of time.
The Ministry has also now allowed companies in the medium green category to apply for block visas provided that it does not reduce the company’s Saudization category to below medium green, which was previously restricted to the high green and platinum categories only.