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Guide to Working in Saudi Arabia

  • by: Denise Ashcroft-Law
  • On: 1, Mar 2024
3 min read

Want to work in a Middle Eastern country that’s famous for the world’s largest desert and the second largest Arab country that offers endless opportunities?

Read our free Guide to Working in Saudi Arabia below and discover:

· Culture – Explore rich Saudi history and a variety of cultures
· Working Culture, Pensions and Tax – Everything you need to know about money matters.
· Language – Learn about the different dialects and languages spoken in Saudi Arabia.

Learn the Saudi Language -

In Saudi Arabia there are a variety of standard dialect of spoken Arabic including. Najdi Arabic, Hejazi, and Gulf or Khaliji Arabic. Modern Standard Arabic is the most widely spoken version which is used in media and schools.

Some basic Arabic phrases are as followed:

  • Naäam - Yes.
  • Laa -No.
  • min faDlik - Please.
  • Shukran -Thank you.

Saudi Arabian Culture -

The cultural setting of Saudi Arabia is greatly influenced by the Arab and Islamic culture. While Islam is the predominant religion, other religious groups are accepted and treated with respect. Saudi is now the fifteenth largest global economy thanks to substantial oil and gas reserves and its place as the world’s leading producer of oil. The country is populated by 31 million inhabitants who are mainly young and highly urbanised with around 80% living in towns/cities such as Riyadh and Jeddah which are now extensively modernised.

A traditional Saudi dinner consists of plain rice, biriyani, meat curries, kabza, tomato or chicken soup, vegetables, salad etc. Rice, lamb, hummus, lettuce salad and labneh are very common at dinner is Saudi Arabia.

There is no doubt that Saudi Arabia is a conservative country which must be respected at all times with certain regulations including gender segregated areas, women wearing conservative clothing and men having to cover their legs, and alcohol of any kind being banned.

Vision 2030 -

Vision 2030 looks to support and enable a vibrant Saudi Arabian culture that is true to its past and looks to the future by cherishing heritage and unleashing new and inspiring forms of expression for all, building a better future for the children. Along with the Cultural Transformation Initiative that involves funding support for artists and a visa scheme for international artists it encourages the nation to create a more welcome, dynamic environment whilst keeping the fantastic culture.

Cost of Living & Accommodation –

In the capital, Riyadh, the average salary is 260,500 SAR per year with the most typical earning being 233,500 SAR.

In Saudi Arabia, you can expect to pay a minimum of SR 350 / month for household utilities and all expats in Saudi Arabia are required to have private international health insurance in order to access any medical services in the country.

The average family of four will need at least SR 20,000 / month to cover basic living expenses.

Tax & VAT in Saudi Arabia –

The standard VAT rate for Saudi Arabia is 15 %. Foreigners working in Saudi Arabia are exempt from income tax, property tax, VAT, vehicle tax, inheritance or gift tax, license fees, etc.

Depending on your home country, you may be charged double taxation. Check the tax agreements between your country of origin and the Kingdom, on the General Authority of Zakat and Taxes page.

 Top Things to Do –

There is a variety of fun, unique and historical things to see and do in Saudi Arabia depending on your preferences. Some of the favourites include:

  • Shopping in luxury malls
  • Visit the third built mosque in Islam
  • Visit the half-moon beach
  • Quad biking or excursions round the desert
  • Climb Mount Uhud or Jabal Al-Nour.

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