[Saudi Arabia] Special expat residency scheme

A new special residency scheme for expatriates has been launched in the kingdom, Yahoo News reports.

The scheme bears similarities to green card systems adopted by other countries. It is reportedly intended to appeal to wealthy and high-skilled expats.

Under the new residency scheme, there will be two types of residencies: a permanent residency for 800,000 SAR ($213,321.96) or a one-year renewable residency for 100,000 SAR ($26,665.24).

The Saudi cabinet approved the scheme this May. The online portal to apply was opened to the public on Sunday.

Approval for the residencies would grant foreign expats free movement, the ability to do business and to own properties in the kingdom.

Over 10 million expats work and reside in Saudi Arabia at present. They live under a system that requires them to be sponsored by a Saudi employer and to be issued an exit and re-entry visa each time they want to leave the country.