Companies in Saudi Arabia are required to apply for block visas to bring new employees into the Kingdom, however, with the introduction of Nitaqat and Vision 2030, the government is favoring companies that hire Saudi locals. In order for a company to maximize their block visas, they should be used strategically. Below are some examples of how companies can use block visas to their advantage, whilst remaining compliant.
A block visa contains multiple visa applicants that are approved on one document; used by companies to bring single or multiple foreign workers to the Kingdom. Once the block visa is approved the individuals can then make their work visa application at the nearest Saudi Embassy.
In order to be granted a block visa, the company must allocate block positions on the block visa with specific employee details. The block visa is granted dependent on the nationality of the applicants, their country of origin, and their exact job role in relation to their academic qualifications.
With the introduction of laws related to Nitaqat, companies must first post their positions on the Taqat website for a specified period of time to show their effort to hire a Saudi local, as well as showing proof of the Taqat listing, how long it was listed for, interviews, the number, and credentials of local applicants and reasons for them being rejected, before bringing in a foreign worker.
This lengthens the process to hire an expatriate, as companies can only apply for block visas after the required amount of time that a job listing has been posted on Taqat.
To ensure that companies maximize the benefits of the block visa, and use the extensive application process to their advantage, here are some alternative options.
With the new laws, companies can take advantage of the high demand for jobs by Saudi nationals, this will give employers a large talent pool available. They may also consider choosing different requirements for the job that allows them to hire a junior professional or graduate and train them on the job, for example.
Companies can find locals to hire from the Taqat portal, which allows them to find and interview suitable Saudi locals for the positions they require. As this is a necessary step before applying for a block visa, companies may as well use this to their advantage.
Companies can also find expatriates from non-compliant companies under Nitaqat or find those candidates that are looking to switch their workplaces for better future prospects. Employees from companies that are yellow and red zoned, do not require employer permission to resign from the company to transfer to a new employer. Companies that are compliant can take advantage of this and hire expatriates that are already in the country. This way they receive the benefits of hiring an expatriate with less work required, and less time delay.
Companies can get the most out of their block visa, whilst remaining compliant if they use it strategically. Considering changing the requirements for a position, will allow employers to hire within the Kingdom and train employees to complete the job at the company’s standards.
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