Thousands of expat workers come to live and work in Saudi Arabia every year, with many expats enjoying successful and rewarding careers.
Saudi Arabia has the largest economy of all 22 Arab states. The country is considered an ‘energy superpower’ for owning the third highest total estimated value of natural resources in the world, including oil and gas, valued at $34.4 trillion in 2016. Petroleum makes up the majority of export earnings and 50% of the total GDP, highlighting why Saudi Arabia is one of the few high-income countries with a very strong industrial sector. A growing economy is one persuasive reason for living and working in Saudi Arabia.
Islam is the official religion of Saudi Arabia. Although expats and migrant workers are granted freedom of religion, Islam is the only religion that may be celebrated in public. Saudi Arabia’s religious customs include:
Of a general population of 32million, around 10million expats currently live in Saudi Arabia, with Western expats making up the majority of non-manual labourers. The large number of expat workers from all over the world contributes to Saudi Arabia’s rich and diverse culture.
Like much of the UAE, Saudi Arabia is tax-free, however with a lower cost of living. The absence of personal income tax and social security tax combined with the low costs of food and utilities make Saudi Arabia an appealing career prospect, although education and private healthcare are additional costs. Tax-free salaries that allow the opportunity to build savings and provide a good quality of life are one of the best reasons to live and work in Saudi Arabia.
Saudi laws and moral standards are considerably stricter than those of the UK and Western Europe, with notable differing laws including:
Expats must be careful to respect all laws and customs, in order to protect their safety and wellbeing and pursue a successful career whilst working in Saudi Arabia.
A strong and growing economy generates increased opportunities for employment. At the end of 2017, the number of professional jobs in Saudi Arabia rose by 35% year-on-year. The jobs market in Saudi Arabia is set to continue to grow in 2018, offering new jobs and careers for thousands of skilled expats wanting to work in Saudi Arabia.
All visitors and expats will need a visa to enter Saudi Arabia. You can apply for a visa through visa agencies accredited to the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia, including the Saudi Able Link or Visa Central. British expats working in Saudi Arabia will need a valid exit or re-entry permit from the Saudi Ministry of Interior to leave the country.
Expats must also have a minimum of 6 months validity left on their passport, from the date of entry into the country, to work in Saudi Arabia.
Unsure about working in Saudi Arabia, but interested in working in the Middle East? Read our 7 Reasons to Live and Work in Abu Dhabi.
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