The Ministry of Labour in Saudi Arabia has announced an update to the laws surrounding the hiring of expats. For every new visa that is required by the company, the employer must go through the new gateway of TAQAT.
TAQAT is the new national labour gateway, introduced to meet one of the goals of Vision 2030, getting more Saudis in the national workforce. Each employer must go through TAQAT to post the job opening to allow it to be first filled by Saudi candidates. If there are no appropriate national candidates then the employer will be able to apply for the new visa. It is not currently mandatory to hire Saudi nationals but all employers must go through the process.
For businesses based in the Kingdom, it is critical to review their current recruitment policy and process immediately. Equally, there should be a review of the company’s future workforce strategy as the implementation of TAQAT could add approximately 3-4 weeks onto the overall processing time. Each company is obligated to provide evidence of interviews and acceptance/rejection justification before they can proceed with applying for the new block visas. If a Saudi national is not identified to fulfil the role, the existing criteria for Block visas will still remain such as the Saudization level at green or platinum.